amateur-offerings-weekend

Keep sharpening your Scriptshadow 250 Contest entries.  Your competition is only getting better with Amateur Offerings feedback.  Here are this week’s contestants, which include werewolves, cults, serial killers, and, of course, Harrison Ford.  Enjoy!

Title: Canine
Genre: Action
Logline: A special forces K9 unit, searching for an international terrorist deep in the Afghan wilderness, find themselves hunted by an ancient tribe of werewolves.
Why you should read: Carson is always encouraging his readers to take a genre and put a fresh twist on it. Which got us thinking… when was the last time we’d seen a kick-ass werewolf action film? Underworld? The Wolf Man? There’s definitely a gap in the market out there. Hopefully we can fill it. And even if you disagree, we’d love some feedback from the Scriptshadow community to help us take the script to the next level.

Title: To Dust
Genre: Thriller
Logline: A brainwashed young woman, conditioned to track and kill the remaining members of her parents’ cult, must outwit a relentless small-town Sheriff and regain her true memories before she kills her next target – the man she loves.
Why you should read: I submitted my last script, The Dark Parade, to Amateur Friday almost a year ago to the day. Whilst I had some great feedback and insight from the SS community (and the script got a few manager reads) – no one was gonna would splash down $150m on a VFX-heavy vampire spec from an unknown writer.

Title: The Rift
Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
Logline: When a soldier suffering from PTSD is told his symptoms are the result of an impossible space/time experiment, he seeks out the renegade scientist responsible, but being living evidence of the experiment’s success, a black agency is quickly on his trail to appropriate the technology.
Why you should read:”Get your work out there!” is often heard advice. “The Rift” started because one of the writers did exactly that. On a slow weekend with no AOW he posted the first 15 pages of an Industry Insider challenge entry that didn’t make the cut for feedback. Another writer read it, liked it, retouched and extended it, and send it back to the original writer for critical feedback. Countless emails over 8 timezones later “The Rift” was a fact. — “The Rift” is a complete screenplay that wouldn’t have existed if not for that first step: to put your work out there for the world to see. If you keep it for yourself, no one will know it exists, no matter how good it is. And so, as a logical extension of how the script came to be, we put it out there where it originated, on AOW, to see what might happen this time around.

Title: Vickie
Genre: Drama
Log lienA seemingly docile nurse in Texas morphs into a serial killer of patients where she worked, after personal set-backs push her over the edge. BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Why you should read:  I’m Randall Alexander. I’m on the cusp of 40, and live in Texas. I’ve long been fascinated with the story of Vickie Dawn Jackson, who was not only a nurse in Texas, but also became a serial killer. We don’t hear a lot about female serial killers, mainly because they don’t usually exist. What makes a person go there? I envision it was a slow burn that teetered right under the surface, that needed some nudging here and there and then WHAM!…it got that final shove, and then erupted into a fire that Vickie could not contain. And that’s the way I wanted my script to play out. Looking for feedback! I think you should read my script, because I followed your advice, in regards to writing a FIRST PAGE that grabs the readers attention.

Title: Adventure Has A Name
Genre: Comedy
Logline: When a fan accidentally receives Harrison Ford’s lab results in the mail, the fatal prognosis sends him and his friends on a desperate journey to find Ford and deliver the script they penned to win him his long deserved Oscar.
Why you should read: This script’s life depends on Harrison Ford. While my first concern is his well-being, his near fatal plane crash today also reminded me that life is too short to keep shelving my projects because someday I’ll wake up and it will be too late. I was holding off on submitting to Script Shadow 250 hoping I could get some feedback from amateur Friday (as you suggested), so here it is – a script about three guys trying to stop Harrison Ford from freezing himself. Been working on it a long time, but it’s not the years Carson, it’s the mileage.

 

  • Poe_Serling

    To Dust…

    Why you should read: I submitted my last script, The Dark Parade, to Amateur Friday almost a year ago to the day. Whilst I had some great feedback and insight from the SS community (and the script got a few manager reads) – no one was gonna would splash down $150m on a VFX-heavy vampire spec from an unknown writer.

    This WYSR worked like a charm because it is just a little over one year since The Dark Parade showed up on the March 15, 2014 AOW. Props to the writer for getting Carson’s attention with it.

    **I remember enjoying the script The Dark Parade quite a bit, so I’ll definitely check out To Dust later on today.

  • cjob3

    So someone accidently receives a fatal prognosis for Harrison Ford (in the mail?) and they rush to deliver him… a screenplay? Wouldn’t Harrison be way more concerned with the death sentence than the unsolicited script? And also, he’s freezing himself? I’ll give this one a chance but the logline feels a bit wonky.

    • BellBlaq

      He’s got lots of money, so he probably won’t really die, but that unrepresented amateur script? That’s his only chance at an oscar; he can’t ignore that.

      • cjob3

        I’m enjoying the read so far. But it’s a little ‘inside baseball.’

      • cjob3

        Just a heads up – page 44 says SMOKEY where is should say HORRIS.

  • Caivu

    I plan to read 30 pages of each again this weekend. Before I do, here’s my initial thoughts on each logline.

    Canine
    Do special forces have K9 units? I guess it depends on the organization. I’m assuming the one here is the Green Berets. Werewolves sound like fun; I’m interested in this.

    To Dust
    To me it seems like there’s just a bit too much going on here; I think the part about the woman saving the man she loves put it over the top for me. It all depends on execution though, so we’ll see.

    The Rift
    Also maybe a bit too much going on here. Being pursued by a secret organization sounds more compelling than having to seek out a scientist, but again, we’ll see. I really want to know how the space-time accident is discovered.

    Vickie
    If this is based on a true story, consider starting with that; all caps is definitely unnecessary. This sounds like it could be a sympathetic portrayal, which is a fine line to tread. I’m interested.

    Adventure Has a Name
    Is this a new version of Harrison Quest (or whatever the name was)? Neat, if so. I didn’t read Harrison Quest, but good job if revisions were made for resubmission. The story sounds kind of implausible/convenient for me (even for a comedy), but I’ll give it a shot.

    • Marija ZombiGirl

      “Canine
      Do special forces have K9 units?”

      Oh man. I seriously just realised that K9 is for “Canine” ^^
      What is that called, by the way, an acronym? When it comes to those, I’m illiterate. Same with phone texting, I seriously cannot read phonetic abbreviations much less write them. That must be some weird form of dyslexia :) (not making fun of that condition, only of myself – my brother is dyslexic, and my daughter is dyscalculic so I know first-hand how hard it can be).

  • klmn

    VICKIE. Read three pages. A lot of directing on the page.

    Too bad, because it has the most interesting logline of the lot, but I might vote for it anyway depending on how the others rate.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      klmn, I’m just gonna piggyback your comments all day ;)

      Also agree on this one. Waaaaay too much camera direction. Like I’ve read a 1,000 times (figuratively), a screenwriter’s job is to write the script, not direct the movie. For me, constantly being told all of this takes away from just enjoying a story = it’s too much of a distraction.

      • klmn

        Maybe we should rate this one

        [XX] Wait for the rewrite.

  • klmn

    CANINE: Read five pages. Run of the mill action stuff, quite a bit of different characters POVs (including the dog). Not feeling it, moving on.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Agree. I read 7 pages, I like the dog POV and the laser guiding (though MIA is also military for Missing In Action…might look into a name change). But the rest seems pretty by-the-numbers military stuff we’ve seen b4.

      My suggestion, start with a Werewolf attack. Make it vicious as hell so we know where this is going. Because right now, it’s all pretty typical. And I’m guessing most agents, managers, producers aren’t gonna stick around for long.

      • Marija ZombiGirl

        I’m on p. 37. No werewolves yet, only a mysterious bear attack that gets no more than a few sentences. I like the group of soldiers, especially Thorne and his dog Mia. I don’t have time to finish this right now but I’ll pick it up again tomorrow. Until now, the only gripes I have are several unfilmables and a few weird formatting things (such as ditching the N.B. parenthesises and just describing the action in the usual way). But I agree with you both that the intro is not gripping enough so yeah, starting with a vicious werewolf attack is a good idea :)

        • hickeyyy

          That doesn’t bode well to me. 37 pages and no werewolves? Seems like the writer isn’t delivering their promise from the logline/WYSR.

          • Caivu

            Proper werewolves don’t show up until over 50 pages in. Of a 96-page script.

          • klmn

            I think that’s okay, if the script holds your interest with other stuff.

            In Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom, Indy didn’t get to the T.O.D. until p 95 (in the draft that I read).

          • Linkthis83

            Yeah, and the vampires don’t show up until the 61 minute mark of FROM DUSK TILL DAWN.

          • davejc

            According to Tarrantino FDTD was two separate stories that were connected at the midpoint.

          • klmn

            That’s a good example. The journey to the bar works great for developing the characters of Clooney, Tarentino, Keitel and Julia Lewis.

            Nothing rushed about it, although it does show the conflicts and tension building along the way.

        • Poe_Serling

          In Cameron’s Aliens script, the first all-out assault by the acid-drippers on the Marines (in the belly of the processing plant) hits around page 60 of the almost 120-page script.

          Why it still works?

          Cameron keeps ratcheting up the tension with numerous hints that the creatures are just lurking out of sight… and ready to pounce.

          • klmn

            Ah, the legendary midpoint shift. As long as the first half is interesting, I think it’s a good idea to make the audience wait for the payoff. The key is having a compelling front half of the script.

          • Poe_Serling

            With the Canine script, I noticed all hell breaks loose around page 52 of the 96-page script and the werewolf action stays pretty intense until the final CUT TO BLACK.

            However, like you mentioned above, the key is having ‘a compelling front half of the script’ to keep the audience around long enough for that payoff.

          • Marija ZombiGirl

            Plus we’re already on LV426 so smack dab in the heart of it :) The visuals, the atmosphere, the growing tension amongst the marines – it all helps to keep us waiting (at the edge of our seats). In CANINE, we dont get to anything that seems off until p. 37. It seemed too long to me.

          • Frankie Hollywood

            Plus, with ALIENS being a sequel we already know what they’re up against, what these things can do.

            CANINE is new, uncharted territory. A brief bear attack is never gonna equal LV426’s innate suspense — the setting has an already built-in anxiety to it.

            If you start with a bloody-as-hell werewolf attack, there’s your tension. Now we know what Thorne/Mia are up against, and if we like them, we’re gonna fear for them.

  • IgorWasTaken

    From “Adventure Has a Name” –

    EXT. HEAVILY TRAFFICKED CAIRO STREET – DAY

    The busy bazaar marketplace. Vendors with fine cloth,
    pottery, baskets, chickens etc line the street.

    A familiar FEDORA blasts around a corner into the scene.

    SCRIPT NOTE: Fedora is shot from chest down, or behind;
    his face not yet on display.

    Before I opened this script, “FEDORA” is a hat. And when this script says it “blasts around a corner into a scene”, I figure it’s being blown by the wind.

    But then we get: “SCRIPT NOTE: Fedora is shot from chest down…”

    So, a hat is shot from the chest down?

    Two things. One, you don’t need the SCRIPT NOTE. Because if you don’t SAY who he is, and then later you REVEAL who he is – the reader will get it.

    Two, while I get what you’re going for, IMO it’s not working and can’t work. For example, when you write, “Fedora’s hand falls to his belt” – even if at this point I know Fedora is a man, not a hat, by calling the man Fedora, you’re distracting my brain from focusing on his hand. It’s as if you called the man HAND, and then wrote, “Hand’s pants are splattered with mud.”

    If you want to still start with FEDORA, maybe then say, “And the MAN under it…” This may seem small, but at the top of Page 1, mind-bending speed-bumps like that are not good.

    Also, while I am not a P.C. guy: “a towering sabre-wielding ARAB”. You might want to change that to “a towering sabre-wielding ARAB MAN”. Not to clarify that he is a male, but to give even this one, minor character some feel of being human.

    • GoIrish

      I had the same initial confusion with the use of Fedora.

    • hickeyyy

      Great analysis, and I’m with you 100%

  • klmn

    TO DUST. Read four pages. Well written. A possiblity.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Read 10 pages. Intriguing, I’m curious to see how this plays out. Script #2 I’d continue reading.

      Though, Ellie’s dialogue: “It’s nothing. Just some sh**ty job.” Why isn’t “shitty” actually written out? Everyone who reads that knows exactly what you’re saying, censoring it doesn’t change anything.

  • klmn

    THE RIFT. Read seven pages, feels unfocused, like the writers wrote without a logline. Looking at the WYSR, I get the same impression. Moving on.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      The opening could be a little “tighter.” And I think it’d be a lot cooler if the changes were actually going on around them as they happened — as opposed to just a glance back to see a major change. For me, that’s a lost opportunity.

      HUNT and HELMUT…that’s just cruel. Please change one of these names.

      Though, I’m intrigued. I stopped after 10, but I’d keep going.

  • klmn

    Adventure Has A Name. Read five pages. I’m not up for fan fiction, I’ll pass.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Our first disagreement (hope we won’t need a counselor).
      After 10 pages, I think this is pretty damn clever.

      Yeah, the “Fedora” entrance is needlessly confusing, but can easily be rewritten: A man wearing a familiar FEDORA blasts around a corner into the scene — we don’t see his face, though from the back we instantly recognize the archaeologist (or, Dr. Jones, or relic hunter). Off the top of my head, but it’s an easy fix.

      I really like the writing: crisp, easy to follow, funny. Definitely inclined to continue.

      • klmn

        I don’t claim to be right, just stating my opinion. We know Carson is ape-shit for Indiana Jones, so maybe he should pick this one.

  • klmn

    My vote: TO DUST.

    This will be the last Amateur Offerings I participate in for awhile. I’ve got other things to do. But I’ll be back.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Yep.

      My vote: TO DUST

      ADVENTURE HAS A NAME is a really close 2nd. Justin, you’re a great writer. Very clean, funny. Unfortunately, I was more intrigued with TO DUST’s story (Ellie is really fucked up. I wanna see what she does).

  • Randy Williams

    Away from home computer. Would someone be kind and send me these scripts?
    touchthermo at g mail. Thanks!

    • IgorWasTaken

      Unless I’m missing something – the links for all of them are directly above. DIY.

      • Randy Williams

        Read them on my phone. Sendspace often won’t download on it for whatever reason.

  • Mike.H

    I assume some or quite a bit of AOW scripts we currently read are submitted to SS 250 contest? Please clarify? Thanks.

  • Randy Williams

    THE RIFT

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Started with this one first. I’m writing something specifically for Carson’s contest that is very vaguely similar to this story. No soldier with PTSD, however. I remember Carson saying he’d read too many scripts with that type.

    I read to page 30. I’m a little inclined to read more only because of the Hannah Jack angle. Lovers torn apart in whatever time/space equation always get to me.

    The first five pages I thought confusing. I read it twice, the second time reading just the dialogue and it wasn’t confusing. The description is distracting, Who is whom? German men here and there, how movements are described. A nuclear power plant “nestled” doesn’t sound very dramatic either.
    Maybe identify what Hunt’s “supposed” role there is earlier? Some clues about what they’re experimenting on, who the German men are and the Prime Minister. What are the consequences of a wrong move?
    Pages 11-12 I really liked. Maybe begin the script with this, fill in other stuff later, and then to Jack on the plane?

    Page 25, we’re given the reveal as to what happened to Jack, and I’m wondering here that I never got a chance to figure this out myself and I’m a bit disappointed and then, thought, okay, what comes next? I thought this was the movie?

    More on Hunt and his son here and I’m thinking, okay, the Kennedy assassination, Jack’s returning from the dead and his need to get Hannah back, Samantha is secretly manipulating the experiment for personal gains, Hunt, a traitor or not and how to rescue his son. Maybe this is all a bit too much too soon or too much to begin with?

  • Caivu

    Canine

    Pg. 1
    -The actions some of the characters are doing when intro’d strike me as odd, especially when they’re in a helicopter, presumably on assignment. Doing pushups, reading a Bible or a jewelry catalog… shouldn’t they be more focused on the mission, especially if they’re Special Forces? These are all good for characterization, but they seem out-of-place and inappropriate, even though I have a suspicion they’re based on something from real life.

    Pg. 2
    -Preacher’s prayer is a bit too cutesy.
    -Clarify which direction the team is going. Are they headed toward Islamabad, or away? I don’t know if EXT. TOWN refers to Islamabad or a smaller, nearby town on the outskirts.
    -“The laser is invisble to human eyes” Consider changing this to something like “The laser is only visible through NVGs” to help calrify what’s happening.

    Pg. 4-5
    -I have my doubts about Mia getting shot and not being in at least a little pain. Kevlar might save your life, but you’ll still have a nasty bruise at the very least, even from a glancing blow. If Mia is to be uninjured, the bullet should graze her side, not glance off. That’s nitpicky, I know.
    -Nice detail of the photos taped to Kronfeld’s arm; even if that’s not a real detail, it seems like it could be.

    Pg. 7-14
    -Expospeak from Kronfeld right at the top, then from Thorne shortly after.
    -The twins don’t get names? I’ve got a feeling Thorne’s not gonna last very long.
    -I’m a bit confused as to the time of day. It’s night at the military base, but it also seems to be night in the States, going by the dialogue. I’d have to check, but that doesn’t seem likely.
    -Mia follows Thorne’s gaze up to a forest? That’s how it reads, but I think you mean they’re looking up at the moon, and you want to use that to transition to the bear scene.
    -The bear scene seems kind of pointless to me. It’s only there to intro the fact that there’s something nastier than bears out in west Afghanistan, but there’s no element of danger, really. No humans are involved. So what if a bear gets killed by wild animals?
    -Nitpick, but change the name of the Ops room; having two fives so close together in dialogue is sort of clunky.
    -The Special Forces guys act like they don’t realize Sawedi’s importance, which is odd.
    -I’m making a prediction: Sawedi will be one of the werewolves.
    -Why is Captain Youngs an Air Force pilot if this is a CIA plane?
    -I’ve been thinking about this for a few pages, but Fresno seems just a bit too immature to be a Green Beret.

    Pg. 17
    -Consider having someone (probably Fresno) comment on the volcanic ash. “What the hell do you mean ‘volcanic ash’? Since when are there volcanoes here?”
    -I’m not seeing how a volcano connects to werewolves. Why does volcanic ash have to crash the plane? There’s a terrorist on board! Think about finding a way for him to sabotage something (I thought that was going to happen when he insisted on praying).

    Pg. 21-32
    -Hey, Preacher, is this really the time to be worrying about blasphemy?
    -I’m not really feeling any danger for anyone on the plane. They’re experienced jumpers, and the only issue they seem to have is how to get Sawadi off the plane. Again, try making things more hectic for them.
    -I’m glad Sepowitz asks why they weren’t warned; sets up a potential mystery box and shows that the writers know this is atypical.
    -The plane sequence has been going on for a while now.
    -Kronfeld’s doing push-ups again? Why? This isn’t the time for that, dude! If your characters have enough time to do push-ups, they’re not in enough of a jam.
    -And now Preacher is praying again. GET OFF THE PLANE! You don’t have time for this!
    -I haven’t really known the captain well enough to get attached to him, or to Sepowitz enough to feel her loss. consider having one of the Special Forces guys dying in the crash, as well.
    -Okay, that almost happens with Fresno. Now the guys have to struggle with an injured teammate. Good problem for the story to have.
    -Did Sawedi keep his chute on because he knew he’d be shortly falling off a cliff? Also, if he’s 200 feet up, he wouldn’t have enough time to pull his chute and for it to open; he’d be in the water in just a couple seconds, and almost certainly dead. But if he’s a werewolf like a suspect, that won’t be a problem except for everyone else wondering how he’s alive.
    … and I see this is happening on page 32.
    -I’ve put off mentioning this for a while, but now that I’m officially a full third of the way through: There have been *no werewolves yet*. That bear scene doesn’t count because the werewolves aren’t seen.
    -I scanned ahead to find where werewolves are actually seen for the first time. I’ll be generous and say it happens on page 51, when the long fingernails, yellow irises, etc. are described; the first proper werewolf shows up a page later. This is more than halfway through the script! The slow burn thing is fine, but if you’re going to do that, there should be more of a buildup; don’t show a bear getting surrounded by things that might be werewolves, since that’ll tip the readers off too early that something’s up. Have the bear first appear as a carcass when the team is hunting Sawadi.
    -I came across some weird stuff in the later pages. The villagers apparently have some sort of plan to capture people, but… they’re in the middle of nowhere. Did they just set up spike pits and have knockout drugs on hand just in case? Also, the soldiers just drink something that’s offered to them by people they don’t know? I think they’d be used to being out in the heat without much to drink.

    Things need to move a lot faster, IMO; if you tighten up nothing else, tighten up the plane crash sequence by putting everyone in more danger. Maybe start with the plane crash, or at least lose all the retirement stuff as well? All I know is, with 95 pages, you don’t really have time to mess around. Again, a slow buildup is fine, but not for almost an hour. I came to see werewolves, dagnabit.

  • pabloamigo

    Good evening all. Writer of To Dust here. Thanks to Carson for giving me another shot. This is my third script so if I were a day of the screenwriting week I reckon I’d still only be Monday lunchtime.

    Had some great feedback last time I submitted so really looking forward to seeing what people think. Thanks to everyone who has cracked it open so far. Even if you only managed a few lines you’re alright in my book.

    Planning on checking out the rest of the scripts tomorrow. Big sci-fi fan so it might be The Rift first. Good luck to all the writers involved.

    • hickeyyy

      Great job on the script. I enjoyed the first 13 pages immensely. Definitely the stand out for me. You got my vote, my friend.

      • pabloamigo

        Thanks hickeyyy, really appreciate it.

  • Randy Williams

    ADVENTURE HAS A NAME

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I really loved the beginning of this. Giving a personality to an iconic scene character is genius. I’d milk the disparity of the Arab and his “best parries” line with a visual of some goofy wardrobe he’s fiddling with while his serious intention to be an actor of note is made.
    Loved the library farce, the home life, laughed here and there but mostly a smile on my face. Good stuff!

    Once we’re on the road, however, my mind started to wander. I think road stories are difficult to manage because they start to feel episodic as they stop along the way and meet different characters. The main goal is easily forgotten. Tom Selleck. Super good in Magnum, thanks to great TV writing, and lots of charm, but boring here, I thought. The Fugitive escaping the bus after the boys triggered the collisions. Is that going to be a running gag? Recreating Ford’s movie scenes as they continue? Like that, but the other distractions were just that. I’m out at page 35.

  • ximan

    VICKIE: A fascinating protagonist and a pretty engrossing read. LOTS of typos and formatting issues though — which SEVERELY hurts the read. The writer may want to invest in Final Draft. Might as well do it now. It shows that you’re serious about your work and it makes writing a helluva lot easier. Nice voice in the writing and stylistically succinct.

    Pg. 5 (TOP) I think it should be “The one I smelled on YOU.”
    Pg. 6 “Always excited TO see momma.”
    Pg. 9 GAVIN and Lexi cringe (who is Jackson???)
    Pg. 10 (BOTTOM) “Takes AN awkward stab…”
    Pg. 11 “…starts BRUSHING Mrs. Jones’ hair.”
    Pg. 11 “Slow, deep BREATHS”

    Okay, I’m sorry, but there’s just way too may typos to enjoy my read. Which is a real shame, because without them, I would have probably read the entire script. The story/protagonist is just THAT GOOD. Good luck with getting a proofread and Final Draft. And congrats on making it to AOW! :)

    • hickeyyy

      For those that can’t afford Final Draft, there is a GREAT alternative out there, which I use solely – Writer Duet! I highly recommend it.

  • hickeyyy

    Hey all! Thanks for all your help on my AOW and AF slots a couple weeks back for my script Oakwood (tentatively renamed Hearse – thanks Poe!). It was really helpful to me and I think I got some great pointers for my next draft. In the meantime, I’m checking out this week’s scripts. So without boring you to death and delaying you, let’s get to it…

    MY VOTE: To Dust. None of the others were able to grab me this week, but my second vote would go to VICKIE if I was forced to choose.

    CANINE

    Logline Interest: Medium. Sounds like a good twist on a couple well-used concepts.

    Read: To page 5.

    Notes: Seems very cliche driven already. I would’ve loved a different twist on our opener somehow considering you are twisting genres themselves. We get the usual religious character. The guy shopping for engagement rings. Really? I want you to make this different. I don’t want the same thing, and no – the dog being involved doesn’t count. It doesn’t make it different enough. If you’re going to shock us by tossing werewolves vs the military, why not completely shock us at the beginning? Just my 2 cents.

    TO DUST

    Logline Interest: High. Love thrillers, myself, and I think this is an interesting way to handle stereotypical cult fare. Nice work.

    Read: To page 13.

    Notes: Your opening scene is seriously awesome. I’m very impressed. It was visual and interesting. I could picture what I was seeing and that is hard to do on the page. Great stuff. First 3 pages and I can already tell this is going to be my choice. Great job. Really, after reading this long, my lone complaint is that the chicken place is called Mother Cluckerz and that you censor your swear words. Let that shit pop off the page! It belongs! The dialog pops, the story is fun, and I’m super intrigued to keep reading. This is what I always hope to see on AOW. Great work, Paul!

    THE RIFT

    Logline Interest: Medium. I’m honestly not sure. It makes sense and there’s an interesting story here, but I feel like your logline is bloated. It’s one sentence and 3 lines long. Pretty intense. I hope the rest isn’t as wordy as this or it’s going to be a tough read.

    Read: To page 3.

    Notes: I’ll give you one thing here, it is a quicker read than the logline, but the dialog is really, really rough here. “The codes. Top drawer of my desk. I didn’t think it would come to this, which is why I left them behind.” This is a textbook example of dialog that is on the nose. Here’s what I need you to do. Here’s why. Also, some reasoning for why it needs to be done. That’s real life talk, but not movie talk. You have to leave a little to the imagination. Just say the codes. Top drawer of my desk. Boom. Move on. Then later, she is looking in his desk and just blurts out to no one “Top drawer he said!” Well, A) yes, he did say that, we heard it like 5 seconds ago, and B) Why does she have to talk out loud to no one. I get it, people talk to themselves, but movie people don’t. Sorry, I’m just not feeling this.

    VICKIE

    Logline Interest: Pretty high. Serial killer origin stories are pretty interesting stuff. I might reword it though.

    Read: To Page 5.

    Notes: Get yourself a title page, friend! I love us just BAM on Vickie’s face here. It makes sense, since she is our subject, and she’s going to morph into someone terrifying. Good choice. I do not, however, like going from one flashback to another flashback. Pg 5 Vickie dialog should read ‘the one I smelled on you’ Page 5 and we are now on our 3rd different flashback. You can start us somewhere and flashback, but don’t start us at the now, then flashback, the flashback from our flashback, then bring us current, then flashback. I feel like Robin Williams in Jumanji when he returns from being lost in time and screams ‘WHAT YEAR IS IT?!’ If it were me, I’d start how you do, BAM, on Vickie’s face. LEAVE US THERE. I want her to be staring us in the face so long we start to feel unsettled and creeped out from unbroken eye contact. Good luck!

    ADVENTURE HAS A NAME

    Logline Interest: Medium. I do enjoy films where film stars play themselves. I was an advocate for the Ryan Reynolds script that came through here. I liked the idea of the Knights movie Carson reviewed where Michael Caine was to play Michael Caine. I like that kind of shit, so I’m suckered in immediately.

    Read:

    Notes: First, read IgorWasTaken’s note about the Fedora. It is absolutely spot on. Second, I love the callback here to the whip fight that was cut from the film. I really do. I’m not sure what point it plays other than what it does. I also would prefer they weren’t talking throughout it. I’d reveal it’s not Indy AFTER the fight. Anyhow, once we leave this scene, I’m not so sure. I think it goes off the rails with a sea of Indiana’s For the record, Ford was fucking Han Solo. There would be just as many, if not more Solos. He’s got a ton of iconic roles. These need to be acknowledged as well. I skimmed the first 10 and realized that scene lasts until here. That’s a bit long for a fight scene between some kids. It’s not going how I hoped, and I’m not sure how to turn it around. Good luck!

  • Anthony

    ******** VICKIE ********

    First twenty-five pages or so.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with underlining, using CAPS, or the occasional camera angle if a writer needs to direct a reader’s attention somewhere. On this occasion, the writer has gone a little over-board. This means you’ll be distracting a reader, rather than pulling them into the story. Which means they’ll more than likely put down the script due to being frustrated. You don’t want this to happen. You need to do everything in your power to keep them invested in the story you’ve written.

    Have a spare forty-five minutes or so. Let’s see how the story unfolds.

    Don’t give them a reason to put it down!

    Page one, A WOMAN, tense and pale, LOOKING RIGHT AT US. In a room, some
    place…some where. Only we don’t know where yet, because right now: Only a TIGHT SHOT of her face/head is visible — This is VICKIE DAWN JACKSON, late 30’s, plain and doe-eyed. Her sandy hair is short.

    What about…

    We’re in a room somewhere with a pale-faced VICKIE-DAWN JACKSON, 30s, with sandy-colored hair. She’s looking straight at us.

    Do we need to know her hair color, probably not? Is it important to the story? If
    it isn’t, get rid of it?!

    Probably don’t need the CUT TO either. What about using SMASH CUT instead?

    Note: The remaining slaps will alternate between left and right handed and increase in force.

    What about…

    She SLAPS herself hard across her face. SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!

    That’s just the first page!

    Page two, why is THAT in uppercase? There’s no need for this.

    Do we need the ANGLE ON? Probably not. FRUMPY TEENAGE VICKIE is more than adequate.

    Page three, is it necessary to hide the fact that she’s an inmate in a prison somewhere? Probably not.

    There’s a character name hanging in limbo at the bottom of the page.

    Page four, most of these ANGLE ON directions aren’t needed. We can clearly see who’s
    in the scene.

    Page five, there’s no need to keep putting character names in UPPERCASE. Once is enough. Use UPPERCASE when a new character is introduced into the story. Saves confusion.

    Page six, no need to use CLOSE ON. It’s redundant as the following is in uppercase.

    A WHITE NAME-TAG pinned…

    Page ten, at this stage in a story, we should have a rough idea as to where it’s heading. Unfortunately, the only thing that has been made clear is that Vickie appears to be suffering from some kind of split personality, or mental breakdown.

    The story needs more clarity and focus. What’s this story about? Whose story is this?

    Page twelve, using UPPERCASE to draw the reader’s attention to things that don’t appear all that important, why?

    Page fifteen, Vickie appears to be in a marriage that doesn’t appear to be working anymore, but we still have no idea what she’s after as the main character.

    Page sixteen, Vickie has three pieces of dialogue in a row. Is that correct?

    Page seventeen, this is based on a true story which is fine, but the writer needs to bring some life and creativity to the story. We need to see this woman slowly lose her self control. We need to see her slowly become violent. We need to see something that triggers this violent aspect of her personality. Is her husband abusive towards her? Is she
    jealous of her friends who appear to be in loving relationships?

    Page twenty-five, Vickie’s depressed, and in a run-down, and loveless relationship, but these aren’t compelling reasons for her to go psycho. There needs to be more to her personality and character. The writer needs to dig deeper and come up with real motivation as to why she goes postal. Jealousy of her friends? Could be a good start.

    We need to see this woman break down, and come close to hurting someone, or herself.
    We need to see this anger brewing inside her. Until she finally SNAPS! and loses control.

    Fix the story. Then work on the format.

    All the best!

  • ximan

    THE RIFT: Interesting opening scene, but somewhat underwhelming and anticlimactic as-written. There needs to be more dramatization and less cliche exchanges between the suits and the scientists. I didn’t understand Helmet or Hunt’s roles/goals in the scene, and Samantha was an afterthought. I think the opening needs to be longer (at least 10 pages) and full of GSU and dramatization (see Carson’s articles). It is a nice reveal when the Silo has disappeared, so I’d keep that as the closing for the intro. But your first scene is CRUCIAL. Beef it up, then revise it over and over again until there’s no fat left.

    The second is scene is more in line with what I was suggesting for the opening. Nicely dramatized and written. I wonder if this should be your FIRST scene (hint: it probably should).

    The third scene at Hunt’s residence reminds me of an issue I had in the first scene, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it: The dialogue needs work. As-written, it sounds like one of those 90s action films where the villains are over-the-top and the heroes are all-too-earnest. People have more complexity than that, and authentic dialogue should too. Also, the conflict feels manufactured somehow. My advice: Take a good look at the articles on this site regarding dialogue and go back over these lines.

    The concept is very interesting, and I just LOVE that humvee scene in Iraq, but this one’s a few drafts short of being ready for the spotlight, IMHO. But good luck to the writers and congrats on making it to AOW! :)

  • ximan

    TO DUST: Beautiful intro with the girl searching for the dog, and absolutely heartbreaking when she doesn’t find him. It reminded me a lot of ROSE IN THE DARKNESS’s opening, but in a good way. I thought the arrest scene needed to be longer and really give us a glimpse of what was going on in that house (maybe they’re in the middle of a ritualistic orgy or seance or something). That would help establish the psyche of little Ellie, and endear me more to her. As-is, she just seems like she’s a little too violent for someone that just lived with a bunch of in-breeds. But then again, it’s early.

    Teenage angst Ellie is well-drawn. I like her general detachment and disproportionate strength. I’m noticing that the number of typos are climbing as I proceed through the read, and the censored spelling of “f**king” was a little confusing. (Side note: I found it incredibly strange and off-putting when Preston thought it was hot when Ellie was bleeding. It seemed far-fetched and out of nowhere.)

    I thought the flashback to the lake while looking through the glass of a store was a bit jarring and out of sequence. It would work MUCH better if she spotted a guy in the store that reminded her of Noah.

    Uh-oh. Noah just happens to appear right after Ellie daydreams a flashback about him? Doesn’t seem realistic to me. I’ve lost my suspension of disbelief and am pulled out of the story.

    Overall: Some very nice writing here. An interesting protagonist that is well-written. We just need the surrounding characters and dramatizations to match. Good luck with the script and congrats on making it to AOW :)

    • pabloamigo

      Thanks for taking a look, ximan. Tough one to get right with the flashbacks for sure.

  • Caivu

    To Dust

    Pg. 1-11
    -Just use 6 for Ellie’s age, not “six years old”.
    -Is Pepper the German Shepherd? I’m assuming so.
    -What specifically does “a controlled formation” mean?
    -“months of work down the toilet” Why? What was Knox hoping to find?
    -I know what you mean by “physical doppelganger of Lennie from ‘Of Mice and Men'” but others may not. Just say Leith is big. Or that he looks like John Malkovich.
    -Colburn’s question needs a question mark.
    -The knife clangs on a floor thick with mud? I don’t think so.
    -Intro Tilda as Tilda instead of Another Girl.
    -Not the fastest of openings, but I’m intrigued.
    -“She’s gangly now – that slightly taller girl who has to stoop to fit in with her friends.” You can lose this, as you’ve already described Ellie as “lean and wiry”.
    -The vacant units are seemingly spreading like wildfire? Are buildings becoming vacant as we watch? There’s been no visual of the town before the recession so that wildfire phrase doesn’t mean anything.
    -There have been several camera directions by now, but they’ve been disguised, at least.
    -The customer needs to be intro’d with caps.
    -What does “surprising strength” mean? Is the tray bending under her grip? Are the veins and tendons in her hands standing out? Show this.
    -What? Preston’s assaulting Ellie already? Seems a bit quick.
    -Censoring curse words? That’s new, and kind of bizarre, to be honest. If you’re going to have a character say “fuck” then write it out. You don’t get to be a prude if you’re going to use the word anyway.
    -I have a feeling Preston’s creepiness exists only to intro Ellie’s fighting ability.
    -Is this flashback with young Noah really needed?
    -Okay, wait. You censor “fucking” and “shitty” but not “ass”? What’s up with that?
    -What does “piano teeth” mean? I’ve never heard that expression.
    -10 pages in; not much has happened.
    -You’ve already mentioned Tilda is Ellie’s sister; no need to do it again.
    -“Tilda can sense something’s wrong – like only a sister can.” Like the camera directions, there have been a few of these unfilmables up to this point. Watch for those; they should probably go.

    Pg. 15-23
    -What is AOR music?
    -I’m having the same problem with this script (specifically, with Ellie) that I had with Echoes a couple weeks ago. Ellie’s just a big ball of weirdness; there’s no consistency to the way she’s behaving. However, other characters have pointed this out, and I get that’s part of the Manchurian Candidate thing that’s going on.
    -How does Ellie have her same pajamas?
    -“Eyes feel like they’re about to pop out. Hurts to even look at her reflection.” More unfilmables.
    -“some kind of sugar-free woodchip substitute – for a healthy start to the day!” Do you really need this editorializing? It doesn’t do anything but take up space. I don’t care about your opinion of breakfast cereal, to be quite frank. Just mention that cereal’s sugar-free, as that’s the only part that’s relevant to Ellie’s next line.
    -21 pages in and still not much has happened. A police raid, an assault, some flashbacks, dancing at a bar, an implied menage-a-trois and murder… there’s lot of scenes here, but they don’t feel connected to me. I also haven’t come across a clear inciting incident; the deaths at the couple’s house might be that, but I don’t know.
    -“the waiting room exactly as you remember from childhood.” The waiting room I went to as a child looked nothing like what you described, sorry. Seriously, these asides to the reader need to go.
    -A doctor in a small town has Botox? Seems just a bit unlikely, but not a big deal.
    -I’m gathering that the people Ellie is baiting are former cult members (I think), but if I hadn’t read the logline I would have absolutely *no idea* what she’s doing. I’d assume she’s killing people just for kicks.

    Pg. 25-30
    -Okay, things are happening. I wonder why Ellie didn’t find anything at the first house, though. I’m also wondering why Ellie is sending video messages to herself. Is that what happening?
    -Why can’t Ellie unlock the doors from the inside of the house?
    -Chesterman is recognizable from the opening scene? Why wasn’t he intro’d there?
    -Pretty good act break.

    I don’t think enough happens in the first 20 pages, but things pick up shortly after that; if you lose the unfilmables, the asides, and the camera directions, that would probably help a lot. I’m intrigued to know who programmed Ellie, and how; I have a feeling it’s Nathan, somehow, for reasons I can’t explain.
    I’d work on Ellie’s character, specifically what her trigger is (unless it simply hasn’t been revealed at all by page 30), since she’s acting really inconsistently, and within the context of the story, erratically. That would only serve to draw attention to her, which is no good if you’re a programmed assassin.
    If I hadn’t read the logline, there are two big things I wouldn’t know for sure by page 30: The fact that Ellie and Tilda were in a cult and the fact that Ellie’s killing cult members. That could just be me, but it’s a big problem if that’s actually the case, since it’s the plot of the script. There are a lot of neat ingredients here, but at least by page 30, they’ve not really been forming into anything. Things picked up by about page 25, though, so that’s good. I intend to read a bit more.
    And Paul, I have to ask since I’ve never seen it before: Why did you censor some curse words in here but not others? I’m asking in all seriousness because I don’t understand the reasoning for that.

    • pabloamigo

      Appreciate the notes, Caivu. Re: unfilmables, I’ve had some similar feedback from a manager recently. So I’ve just started another pass with an emphasis on conveying the intention of these asides within action description.

      And for the swear words, I did actually see it in a pro script I was reading once. Honestly, it’s just one of those things that I put in, then didn’t think too much about.

      Thanks for taking the time to critique. Let me know if you stick with it.

      • Caivu

        I continued on until page 63. I didn’t really see much plot from pages 30 to 48, when Tilda confronts Noah. A lot of the stuff in those pages feels like setup for the third act, and that’s good, but the story just seems to tread water. That’s the fabled Act 2 slump we all struggle with. I also realized that not only is there scant mention of the cult to this point, I’m also not getting what type of cult it was. Religious, presumably, but what did they do, exactly? You could use the headlines Colburn looks at to provide clues. They can remain mysterious, but not a total mystery.

        I really liked the scene with Babs at the thrift store, but I wished it had been earlier. A small suggestion: have Ellie start to ask Babs how she knows her name, and then get interrupted by Noah’s call. Babs slips away as Ellie’s distracted.

        Something I noticed around page 25 during my first read, but didn’t mention, is that the story has a lot of similarities to The Bourne Identity. That’s not an accusation or anything; there’s plenty of different and original material in your script to play around with (the cult stuff has really fun potential, as does the increasing conflict between the sisters). I saw some of your more recent comments (or just one comment? whatever) about how you’re thinking about making this a psychological thriller. Bourne’s an action movie, but definitely has elements of a psychological thriller. I’d suggest studying its structure as you rework things.
        I’m still interested in reading, but I don’t think I’ll be able to get to the rest of it this week.

        • pabloamigo

          Thanks for continuing to provide your thoughts Caivu. I think it’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you are progressing the story during that 30-50 period. Must admit that was the part I struggled most with.

          In general, a lot of comments I’m hearing are people being confused by parts of the story (never a good thing if you’re confused in the ‘wrong way, i.e. confusion you can’t accept and which pulls you out of the story). This feeling was intentional – as I wanted to mirror how Ellie was feeling, but the balance was obviously not there.

          I’m a big fan of Bourne, so that’s probably why it comes through. Also had Memento and Hanna in my mind as I was writing.

          I think there’s the seed of something there with this, but perhaps I’ve relied too much on allusion (and confusion) in this draft. Plenty to think about.

  • Randy Williams

    VICKIE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    I like the writing here. A few words paint a picture. Time jumps are a bit distracting but visually I think they’ll work.
    A slow downer, like snow on a bruise. Didn’t read the WYSR until after I stopped reading so I didn’t know this was a true story. Maybe a few more funny lines. I did laugh at her suggestion to watch “Dances With Wolves” That atrociously long movie and they’ll have fallen asleep and no chance for romance.

    Loved the scenes with her children at school and that angle. At page 35 my mind began to wander and I think that’s a good place to get back to the children and the cheerleader angle. I know it’s her story but as a viewer I’m interested in caring for the survivors, those she will really impact with by what she’s about to do.

    Stopped there, would like to read more.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    I think my vote goes to VICKIE.

    VICKIE – Why is there no title page?

    There’s something extremely alluring to me about this script. The one way that it stands out from the pack is that it seems to be the most emotional character driven script of the bunch. I’m interested to see what people have to say about this script, and how it can be improved.

  • 21BelowZero

    Read first ten of each. I agree with a lot of the prevailing comments:

    CANINE, besides the dog stuff it’s all been-there-done-that. Marija ZombiGirl read to 37 and still no werewolves? Major problem. I like Frankie’s suggestion, open with an attack.

    TO DUST, awesome atmosphere. Few problems, Caivu/ximan did a great job pointing them out. Curious to see where this one goes.

    THE RIFT, feels like a first draft. Tighten it up and it could be cool.

    VICKIE, turned off by all the direction. Without it I feel it could be something special.

    ADVENTURE HAS A NAME, from the logline I didn’t think I’d like this, but pleasantly surprised. Still not sold on the actual story, but I like the writing.

    Winner: TO DUST

    • Frankie Hollywood

      Ha-ha, nope. Our Avatars gave it a shot, but things didn’t go so well.

      • Frankie Hollywood

        And we still go dancing all the time. Marija is crazy good with the Salsa.

        • 21BelowZero

          Looks fun. Next time you guys go out, let me know. I’d love to join you.

        • Poe_Serling

          Your favorite song… Monster Mash??

          • Frankie Hollywood

            The Edgar Winter Group has a pretty good little jam too. Doesn’t work so great on the dance floor, though.

  • Caivu

    The Rift

    Pg. 1-5
    -You could have the scene heading be EXT. NUCLEAR POWER PLANT so you don’t have to mention it in the action line.
    -Nitpick, but IIRC scientists only wear lab coats when working with things that could get on their regular clothes, like chemicals. Does Samantha need one?
    -I’ve been dropped in the middle of something with no prior setup at all. Since this script apparently deals with space-time irregularities, that might be okay.
    -Does Samantha need to talk to herself? Consider just having her look confused and then rummage around the office.
    -Major expospeak by Hunt on the bottom of page 4.
    -If the office man and the secretary are speaking German but you’re keeping it in English for the sake of readability, there’s no need to put German in their dialogue.
    -Intriguing opening, but it feels low-stakes right now.

    Pg. 8-15
    -Where is Hunt’s residence?
    -Lots of mystery boxes so far. Good!
    -Where is the physics building?
    -I don’t have much to say, except I’m confused, but in a good way. Hopefully these mysteries will have satisfying resolutions. Make absolutely sure that all your staging and action lines are as clear as possible; since the plot is built on people being confused, there’s little room for any confusion readers might come across due to lack of clarity.
    -I’m not convinced right now that the taxi driver scene is needed.

    Pg. 17-18
    -How is the driver using the fire extinguisher with only one arm?
    -Okay, I understand why the taxi driver’s here.

    Pg. 23
    -Whoa, live history project? Slow down! I want to know more about that! Very interested now.

    Pg. 29
    -Roddick and Stiles’ conversation has elements we’ve heard in previous pages.

    I didn’t find much wrong with the writing aside from typos like everyone has; I found it fast and pretty easy to picture. It’s almost too fast, actually, with things happening so rapid-fire I almost got lost a few times. Again, make sure that everything is as clear as it can possibly be, without any room for misunderstanding, since this script is built on characters (and by extension the audience) being confused.
    This was a fast read and the most movie-like of the scripts I’ve read so far this week. I’ll definitely continue.

  • Randy Williams

    CANINE

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    Easy, breezy style, I was on page 50 before I knew it. I like the concept but up till that page, I wasn’t getting anything really new, nor an emphasis on the dog. Reminded me a bit of that found footage script a while back with the Vietnam troops and a vampire. But that one provided more atmosphere and more twists and we got to the vampire attacks real soon.

    The beginning reminded me of many other beginnings in war-torn Afghanistan. How about starting on the plane? A short discussion of the dog’s previous heroics under the credits. The thought of a plane going down and how a dog would get off was intriguing. Maybe the dog can’t be coaxed to a man with a parachute. That would cause some tension. Then the plane explodes as most men have gotten out, and the dog is blown out. His handler has to manouever over to him and rescue him as they plunge earthward. The dog is injured. Another conflict. As they continue on ground. Put him down or take him with them? A village gives the dog some potion (unknown to the men, blood from the werewolves) and the dog makes a miraculous recovery. We find out about this before the men do, so it’s “The Thing” type of thing, will the dog turn on them? So..just examples of how everything is about the dog. Canine?

    The only reason I’d keep reading is because the writing has a nice urgency to it, perfect for the genre that makes me want to.

  • Caivu

    Thanks!

  • Frankie Hollywood

    That’s the problem, I think he really is a good storyteller. But all the directing is going to turn off a lot of readers.

    If that stuff doesn’t bother you, I’m sure he’ll have you hooked. If it does bother you, you’re gonna check out after a few pages (like me). He’s got a few votes, so…

    Reminds me of people who waaaaaay overuse bold, CAPS, underline, and italics. Some people don’t care, some do (I don’t like that either).

    But if it’s almost a guarantee you’re gonna annoy a certain % of people, why even do it?

  • jaehkim

    my vote : VICKIE

    I read the first 15 of all the scripts and VICKIE is the only that stands out with a real character I’d like to follow for 90+ pages.

    most amateur scripts follow the ‘this happens, then this happens’ formula. in other words, a plot driven, not character driven story, which might be ok given it’s an action script, but 9/10 there will be no conflict of any kind between characters which we see in these AF scripts.

    note to writer of VICKIE – as others have said, there is too much underlining and directing on the page. but the writing is lean and descriptive and the story moves at a good pace, I can’t wait to read the rest of it.

  • Randy Williams

    TO DUST

    Congrats for making it on AOW!

    There’s definitely a masterful skillset of writing talent on display here, but honestly if I had not read the logline which I found very intriguing, I would not have really wished to continue past the first ten pages or so.

    We meet the protagonist after she’s blungeoned someone and possible her pet dog who she searches for to finish off? Jump ahead in time and she’s a basket case. The past wasn’t explained so I’m thinking she’s trying to adapt to life after all that in some way. I read to page 22. There didn’t seem to be any inciting incident to pull her in a different direction except the loss of a job which seems like something she’s probably experienced before. She was probably always a basket case who cut her arms. Anyway, this is how I saw it. So, I was torn whether to really care for her or to see what happens to her. Compare this to “Vickie” The protagonist there was trying to remain positive in the face of life just not giving her a break. Her emotions were shown through cinematic juxtaposition. One scene she’s trying to get frisky with a cold husband and then the next she’s kindly reading a romantic novel to a comatose patient. I really cared for that woman. Here, it seems you’re putting Ellie at a distance from us. She is confused herself as to the marks on her body, how she is feeling, how she can find the truth of things. Is there something she can be positive and certain about?

    Still, the logline grips me. I’ll read more to see how this all plays out.

  • Malibo Jackk

    A few awful, horrible, totally unhelpful notes:
    CANINE
    Someone help me out here.
    Is this a RIN-TIN-TIN movie with werewolves?
    If so, I think it’s suffering from an identity crisis.

    If I may, here is the movie that I think audiences want to see:
    First — it’s a THRILLER. (Not purely an action movie.)

    LOGLINE: A Special Forces unit uses tracker dogs to hunt down a notorious terrorist hiding out in an Afghan no-man’s land, rumored to be a hunting ground for werewolves.

    (A few MUSTS that the script must contain. They MUST encounter the terrorist. And they must encounter him at the MOST UNEXPECTED time. The terrorist must KILL the commanding officer. WEREWOLVES must attack. The biggest LOSER must take the initiative to the enemy.
    CLAUSTROPHOBIC, he must crawl through a long, dark tunnel to the werewolves’ nest…)

    • Malibo Jackk

      A few more worthless, totally unhelpful notes:
      VICIKI

      Actually liked her intro. The camera directions didn’t bother me.
      (But continued overuse can be a problem.)
      Didn’t think the slapping would work. It could become comedic. Had trouble picturing an actress doing that.

      Would suggest changes in facial expression and voice instead.

      • Malibo Jackk

        A few more pointless, unnecessary notes:
        TO DUST gets my vote.

        Skilled screenwriting in the first five pages, its handling of images and story.
        (This despite a convoluted logline.)

        The logline win goes to ADVENTURE HAS A NAME.
        (Unfortunately, it’s not my thing.)

        THE RIFF
        Consider a more dramatic opening. Something we haven’t seen before.
        Amaze us with a real riff.

  • Caivu

    Vickie

    Pg. 1-8
    -Most attention-getting opener so far, IMO, and all it took was a full frame of a middle-aged woman’s face. Very nice. I can really picture this.
    -Leave the “dimly lit” in the description, not in the scene header.
    -“Except now she’s different – much different.” This can be cut; we’ll see that from her description in the next sentence.
    -“(you know the drill)” If you keep that as just a (slap), you could maybe save a line.
    -It took me a second to realize the first and second flashbacks were of two different times; I thought the second scene was just a continuation of the first flashback.
    -I know what bg means, but spell it out to be clear.
    -Vickie is a pretty interesting character so far, and I’ve barely seen anything of her. This is good.
    -“The one I smelled on.” I don’t understand what that means.
    -I think the transition to two years earlier would work better by having present-day Vickie’s face cut to Vickie’s face in the bathroom mirror. Coleman and his selfishness are intro’d just fine without the Striptease scene.
    -Others have mentioned odd formatting issues, but I’m really just noticing them around page 7 and 8 so far. Same for typos; watch for them.

    Pg. 10-14
    -Some expospeak from Bonnie and Mary that could be smoothed out.
    -“PULL BACK to realize we’re in a hospital room — actually a convalescent resident room.” Just say that it’s a convalescent resident room.
    -If Mrs. Jones’ breathing is labored, she wouldn’t be hyperventilating, but would instead have hyperpnea (hyperventilation means that someone is breathing faster than what their body requires; hyperpnea is breathing faster or deeper because your body requires it). Nitpick, I know.
    -There have been more than a few asides to readers so far, and they come off as comedic in tone. Consider dropping them.
    -There are plenty of scenes that showcase Vickie’s character, but there’s not been a lot of story so far. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for something character-centric like this, but everything feels a bit loose.

    Pg. 17-20
    -First concrete mention of Vickie’s motivations. This could probably come in earlier.
    -The school scene sticks out. Right now I’m not sure why it’s necessary.

    Pg. 26-30
    -Still not getting Gavin’s subplot.
    -Scenes are starting to get more random (or they seem that way, at least). None of them stand out as being bad, really, but there’s not a lot of connection between them. I get that Vickie’s on the decline psychologically, but man… I need some structure here.
    -I’ve just noticed that prison Vickie has been absent since, what, page 3? It shows how compelling she is that I was too caught up in past Vickie’s antics to notice until now, but if you’re going to start with Vickie as a narrator, you should keep that consistent and without large gaps. This might also help lend some structure to things.

    Well, so far this week I’ve read about soldiers, werewolves, cults, specially-conditioned young women, rifts in space-time… and this is still the most compelling script so far. Very well done. My biggest concern with the character is that her horniness threatens to overshadow her other traits.
    Structure is my biggest issue with this script right now. Story can take a backseat in character pieces like this, but it still needs to be in the car. I’m not sensing that right now.
    Also, others have mentioned the typos/formatting errors, which are a shame because this really has a lot of potential. I will definitely continue reading.

  • Caivu

    There’s a scene on page 10 where a bear gets attacked by werewolves, but the werewolves aren’t seen. Other than that, nothing.

  • Citizen M

    My vote this week goes to CANINE, with honorable mention for ADVENTURE HAS A NAME.

    CANINE

    Read to page 29. Extremely well written. Like a pro script. Excellent concept too, IMO. Problem is, no werewolves yet, so not fulfilling the promise of the premise.

    I think the buildup to get them into the danger zone is too convoluted, and anyway we have no idea if they are in werewolf territory, so no tension or anticipation.

    My suggestion is to lose the plane ride entirely and get them into the forest some other way, and have them know they are entering some sort of spooky area, so we feel tension with them. And do it in five pages fewer. Maybe lose the “last mission” angle too. It’s a tired trope.

    p. 2 – A raid in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan? I don’t think so.

    p. 6 – Raid sequence is well written.

    p. 10 – I thought bears were vegetarian. Could one move fast enough to catch a deer?

    p. 11 – It’s written like there’s a time jump here. Suggest the Colonel starts his briefing, “That guy you brought in last night, …” so we know it’s continuous action.

    p. 17 – Active volcanoes in W. Afghanistan possible?

    p. 18 – Afghanistan – Paris flight path passes over Turkmenistan, not Tajikistan.

    p. 29 – How does Mia pick up Sawedi’s scent? I thought they had landed quite far apart.

    TO DUST

    Read to page 20. I didn’t really know what was going on, which is presumably the writer’s intent. We are supposed to feel what Ellie feels, so it’s told from her POV. Trouble is, the prologue is told from a third party omniscient POV. The change is a bit jarring. Unless there’s a good reason for it, I’d consider changing it to something easier for the audience to follow.

    I’d like to know what happened after the barn scene; how Ellie got back to her home town. presumably the info will be dribbled out in the course of the script. I’m not a fan of the slow reveal myself, but i suppose it has its place.

    p. 3 – ‘months of hard work down the toilet’ – unfilmable.

    p. 4 – Sheriff went into barn without backup. Not SOP, surely?

    p. 5 – The view from underneath the bed. Is this significant? If not, it is directing on the page and not recommended.

    p. 6 – Mother Cluckerz. Very punny!

    p. 6 – ‘unbridled ambivalence’ – I’d like to see someone act that.

    p. 8 – ‘hubris inside’ a grocery store. Really? Is this an ironic grocery store or something?

    p. 9 – Meeting of Noah and Ellie could be better. I’m left unsure how they feel about each other.

    p. 10-14 – Scene goes on too long. We get it: Tilda mothers Ellie. This is just background info. There is no plot development to justify the age count.

    THE RIFT

    Read to page 20. Color me confused. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what the Rift machine makes possible. I have no point of engagement with any of the characters. I see no plot developing. There is no reason to read further.

    VICKIE

    Read to page 20. This script suffers by comparison with the other biopic this week, The Founder. The Founder is told linearly. One thing logically follows another, so we can see and appreciate the story as it unrolls. Vickie on the other hand jumps all over the place. It’s snippets of her life. i don’t see any kind of development or arc. I don’t know what the writer is trying to achieve by telling the story this way. There are several typos, too.

    ADVENTURE HAS A NAME

    Read 20 pages. Well written and a fast read, with some appropriately madcap and energetic scenes. Needs more laughs, and a bit more GSU. This journey they are about to embark on is a nice to have, not a must have. They need an existential problem only making this journey will solve.

    • klmn

      Kind of a minor point, but bears are not vegetarian but omnivores. Meat and fish is their preferred diet.

      • walker

        That’s not a minor point to bears.

        • 21BelowZero

          Or salmon.

  • brenkilco

    Read Dust to page thirty. Generally well written. The story is developing. If someone else who plowed on can assure me what follows is compelling and surprising and reasonably believable I’ll keep going. But I have to confess I’m kind of irritated. By a few little things and one big thing. Big thing first. All thrillers and mysteries depend on the writer withholding information. And when the characters are in the dark I don’t mind being in the dark. As the characters piece things together so does the audience. But when the characters all know what’s going on and the only ones in the dark are the audience, that’s just the writer fucking with us. It’s not pleasurable. The sisters know how they were raised, why all these people were arrested, what became of them, what the pair have been going through in the years since, the nature of Ellie’s medical issues. If we are also being asked to swallow a heaping extra level of mystery, that the protagonist is being hypnotized/narcotized/manipulated into committing savage homicides, at least give us the basic background.

    OK smaller things. The writer obviously put some thoughts into the shorthand physical descriptions, trying to convey the essence of things but sometimes, what with all the asides, they’re a bit too cute.

    “They’re intermingled with boarded up vacant units – seemingly spreading like wildfire.” This is a momentary shot of a main street. Abandoned buildings aren’t springing up out of the earth.

    “Unbridled ambivalence on her face.” There’s a thin line between oxymoronic and meaningless. And what exactly is she ambivalent about?

    ” the hubris inside continue.” Nothing screams amateur like a clearly misused word. I doubt all the customers in the grocery store suffer from overweening pride. Did the writer mean hubbub.

    “Moving with a pair of bobbling shopping bags held aloft. We catch glimpses of the person carrying them – a slim woman wearing pristine striped trousers, a fitted blouse.” Who holds shopping bags over their head. Don’t the bags have handles? And what’s the point of this delayed reveal? Why not just say who this is and what she’s doing?

    Some other points. A few tense problems. The word sat is used several times when it should be sit or sitting. The flashbacks are intrusive. The Noah scene left me completely lost. Do they know one another, not know one another. Have they forgotten they know one another? Ellie alternating between withdrawn neurotic and calculated and quite literal femme fatale is a hard to buy. As is , honestly, the movie world we’re in where all service industry supervisors seem ready to engage in casual rape, doctors seduce patients, and all random couples are only one drink away from an anonymous threesome.

    Now I’ve hit the first act break and Ellie is revealed as an amnesiac killer with a tormenting, voyeuristic, religious fanatic pulling her strings. Just hope this is going to get more believable and not more crazy.

    • davejc

      Agree with the big thing.(read to pg. 52) The audience should be brought on board in the first act.

      Also it’s a no no to kill a child or dog in your story. And it’s a capital offence if it doesn’t have any purpose to the rest of the story.

      But the writing is good and the characters are fleshed out well. If the opening back story is essential then my suggestion would be to open with the Sheriff holding out his hand to young Ellie(it’s a good moment) and then fill in whatever info is essential to the story.

      But I have to admit I can’t buy a six year old killing anybody with a knife ever and I don’t think a LE officer could buy it. I realize that because we didn’t actually see it that may not be the way it went down. But because of the way the scene is set up I think the audience is being led to believe that. However it’s very difficult to kill a person with a knife and we’d have to see something like that with our own eyes to buy it.

  • Dan B

    Started with Adventure Has a Name – through page 25.

    The story so far reminds me of Fanboys and Detroit Rock City – both of those were stories about a group of friends going on an adventure that was fueled by obsession. With Fanboys it was getting to see Star Wars Episode 1 before their sick friend died. In Detroit Rock City, four punk rockers need to get to the KISS concert. Now looking at this script, these friends need to get to Harrison Ford… but I’m not certainly sure why? Because he wants to freeze himself? So what if he wants to freeze himself.

    Also, the opening scene is spent on the “behind the scenes” story of the Arab that was supposed to get his big break. Does this scene develop your story at all though? I did a search for Arab in the script and didn’t get anything. Does he come back into the story at some point? If not, then the first five pages of the script were spend explaining what is essentially a fun fact.

    Writing is focused and the 25 pages I made it through was quick and breezy.

    Also, I liked the set up and pay off of the lucky gum…

    Suggestions:

    If it isn’t relevant later, thinking about cutting the opening with the Arab. You could bring back this fun fact at another point just through character dialogue if you want it told.

    25 pages in, and for a comedy I didn’t think it had enough jokes.

    I’d maybe spend some more time developing these characters in the beginning, especially with Simon who seems to be the main protagonist. This story could wind up being a nice coming of age story, so it would be nice to know more about Simon other than the fact he loves Harrison Ford.

    I’d make it harder for them to get on their way… a few more obstacles would make things interesting. I haven’t gotten far enough, but these kids should just keep running into problems along the way in order to test their resolve.

  • Caivu

    Adventure Has a Name

    Pg 1-10
    -“Heavily trafficked” would work better in the description, not the scene heading.
    -Others have mentioned their issue with the fedora; it doesn’t really bother me, but consider changing it or being more clear.
    -Others have also mentioned discrepancies re: Vic Armstrong, the actor playing the swordsman, etc. I’ll add one that I didn’t see mentioned: The Cairo scenes in Raiders were, IIRC, filmed in Tunisia. The scene heading should reflect that.
    -Who’s the famous action hero the swordsman is talking about? Certainly not Indiana Jones. I’m not that familiar with Ford’s early work, but was he known for his action roles before Raiders?
    -The banter on page one isn’t really doing anything for me.
    -Again, check to see if the super should be Tunisia. And they’re still filming in 1981, the year it was released?
    -Nice little moment with Terry about to eat the date.
    -Another nice moment with the close-up fedora transition; very Last Crusade. I’m not sure this opening is necessary, though, but it’s kind of fun.
    -“he’d be the muscle of the group if muscle really did weigh more than fat.” I get what you’re saying with this, but I think you’re talking about density, not weight. It’s a moot point, though, because muscle is denser than fat.
    -I don’t really want to read a blowjob joke in a comedy about Harrison Ford, but that’s just me.
    -Not really liking any of the main characters so far.
    -If everyone’s dressed identically, shouldn’t everyone have a bag? It is a bit funny that *everyone* is dressed as IJ, so good job there.
    -I’m having a bit of trouble understanding the staging and positioning in the library.
    -Everyone’s reacting to even the possibility of seeing HF as if he were One Direction or something. It seems a bit unrealistic that people would be that rabid about seeing him.
    -The whip swinging is kind of funny.
    -The library scene goes on for a bit too long, and I have a feeling it’s there mostly for the “No tickets” joke.

    Pg. 12-29
    -Simon seals the envelope with gum? Like, in the same way as a wax seal? However it’s done, gross, man. If your mail was returned before, it definitely will be now. But I have a feeling that won’t happen.
    -Okay, the movie references are getting a bit old. I appreciate trying to add as many of them in as you can, but it’s starting to feel like references supersede everything else.
    -As it’s written, Simon seems to be reacting to the message for Karen; is that how it’s supposed to be? Also, this is the first mention of any schoolwork at all, let alone one that apparently super-important. Why does he have to go home and come back to school to find Harrison’s mail?
    -I get what the gum’s for, but I don’t buy that mail with gum stuck on it would get sent in the first place. I’m glad that it’s not a pure address mix-up, though.
    -Why don’t the guys just Google Cryobank?
    -The guys just decide to go see Harrison Ford? I don’t understand this type of rabid admiration for people, celebrity or otherwise. I’m not getting anything deeper from Simon other than he worships Ford, and nothing from Horris or Brent other than they go along with Simon for some reason and don’t see his behavior as *really weird and unhealthy*.
    -Now we’re just on characters discussing movies. Ugh.
    -And now the trio causes a car crash. Good job, assholes.
    -What’s this business with the prison bus now? I guess the car pileup sequence is good for illustrating how self-absorbed and dumb these kids are. I don’t think I’m supposed to be hating these characters, but I do now.
    -Seriously now. Are there any sequences in this script that aren’t going to reference a HF movie somehow?
    -After the business with Horris at the gas station, I’m fully convinced that I’m supposed to hate these characters. Good job with that, Justin.
    -And now Horris is now busting down doors. What entitled little shits these guys are.
    -Tom Selleck as the Sheriff? What.
    -I wish they got in more trouble with Selleck.
    -Why don’t you use Short Round’s actor’s name?

    Like I Shall Be Released last week, this script has a lot of passion behind it. I can appreciate that. But it feels like this passion is being channeled into making as many references to Harrison Ford films as possible, with story and character taking a backseat. References are fun, but a script should be able to stand on its own.
    I understand that the trio wants Ford to get an Oscar, but WHY? Why is he important enough to them that they’ll act like obnoxious punks for most of the first thirty just to get to see him? This behavior makes zero sense to me. I think I understand the thing with Simon’s dead father, at least, but I can’t fathom why it would cause him to idolize Ford so much. If any of these guys had other characteristics besides “worships Harrison Ford” things would be a lot better. They’re teenagers, sure, but this is atypical behavior.
    There is some fun stuff in here, mostly at the beginning. I want to keep reading, but only to see if the kids get some kind of comeuppance, or at least learn that their actions were unacceptable.

  • Dan B

    To Dust

    Read through page 30

    By the time I got to 30, I can see the story beginning to develop… these murders aren’t random, she’s doing something… and these mysteries keep me interested in finding out what has happened to her.

    I think it’s very clunky getting to page 30 though… we have this opening scene where the cops storm in… but it isn’t quite clear (assuming you’re a viewer, and you don’t know the log line) that this has anything to do with cults. Also, you wrote that she has a torch, then a flashlight, and then that she “clicks” off a torch. I have no idea what she’s using as a light. Is it a torch with flames? Or a flashlight?

    We’re at the chicken restaurant…. and she’s holding trays with surprising strength… I don’t know what this means. Try something like “white-knuckling” or just cut it out. I don’t get anything out of reading how she holds a tray of chicken. Then Preston comes in, he’s going after Ellie and then she violently assaults him, cracks his knee bloodies his face. Dude this weasel, Preston, is going to the cops. I agree with Caivu… this scene felt like it was here only to show that she can fight.

    The scene with Noah.. do they know each other or not? This scene wasn’t clear.

    A lot of time spent on the bar and sex with the couple… I think you could cut some stuff out of here.

    Then she goes to the Doctor… if the doctor was one of her targets wouldn’t she just have cut her head in order to go there? Was her opportunity to run into the doctor built from the pure convenience that she cut her head when she was at the couple’s house?

    Also at the doctor’s office, why is it obligatory for obese men to be at the doctor? Men of all sizes go to the doctor… if it was a Weight Watchers meeting then I’d get it, but there’s more to a doctor’s office than fat dudes, and itchy kids.

    Also – the thing where you blank out the swear words… I just don’t know. Readers are grown ups. They can read FUCK and not bat an eye.

    This gets interesting when she gets the call about doing God’s work… I think the execution just needs to improve on the way here.

    • Caivu

      I think the author may be British (correct me if I’m wrong, Paul!), hence using torch to mean flashlight. The script uses British spellings of other words, like pajamas.
      Good point about the logistics of Ellie’s trip to the doctor.

      • pabloamigo

        I am indeed British. Torch and flashlight mean the same thing over here, but good point, I should probably just stick to flashlight to avoid confusion.

        • Levres de Sang

          In all honesty, I’ve never heard anyone in the UK refer to “flashlights”. I know Scott’s gone down the American English route, but my own feeling is that screenwriting’s hard enough without trying to assume a persona that doesn’t come naturally.

  • fragglewriter

    I’ve downloaded all of the scripts.

    Canine – read until page 3. That is some smart ass dog to know to look back and duck on command. Why hunt terrorists? Get him to Hollywood.

    To Dust – read until page 9. I got confused so I stopped reading.

    The Rift – read until page 4. The character name for Helmet and Hunt confused me. I reread it and still didn’t know what was going on.

    Vickie – read until page 1. Once the talking in mirror and slapping ensued, I bailed.

    Adventure Has a Name – read until page 3. Still reading, and will report my progress.

    • Randall Alexander

      In regards to my script Vickie: Who has never slapped themselves in the mirror before?! Just kidding. Thanks for the feedback. Can you elaborate more about why that particular scene turned you off? As soon as I read about Vickie, that scene, dripping in creative license, popped into my head and never left.

  • Zero

    I do want to look and comment on all the scripts. But due to a busy day today, I only had time to read one tonight.

    Canine: Liked the logline and concept at first. It was a good read, interesting, exciting. Little put off by how often the ellipsis and separated line is used.

    But what’s more important is that it felt somewhat slow to get started. It’s a 96-page script, the inciting incident should come a little sooner than if it were 105. As well, we should get a few more hints of the werewolves before page 33, especially because of how short the script is.

    Still, as I read on, I was hooked. Despite the characters not being fresh, it was a fast, enjoyable read. The ending was interesting (not gonna repeat it here).

    Overall, it has it’s flaws, but despite being the first of the scripts I’ve read, I think it’ll be hard to beat for my vote.

    • Zero

      To Dust: It was hard to get going with this script, as just not enough of it made sense quickly enough. The missing question mark in Colburn’s dialogue on page 4 didn’t inspire me with confidence either.

      The Intro (p1-5) seems like it did what it was supposed to – show a mysterious event in the past that will inform the present – but not in a good way. If some facts had been communicated to ground me, then I’d be more interested and care more about solving the big mysteries.

      Also put off by the amount of directing on the page – primarily stuff like VIEW, but also the indication of TITLES.

      I stopped reading by page nine, with the flashback and more directions. I hadn’t encountered a real reason to keep reading. No reason to care about this weird girl.

  • Bob Bradley

    I read to dust to the end….although I started skipping toward the end. I liked the writing and the story, but guessed some surprises early. I started off impressed but I wanted some psychological depth. It was all action. So eventually I started skimming to the end and didn’t care what happened.

    What if you rewrote it as a psychological game? Don’t hide the facts from us…as someone complained. Not knowing might work till the half way mark…reveal all, then figure out how to tell the rest of the story.

    Laughed at the Jaws reference.

    • pabloamigo

      Hi Bob, thanks for checking out To Dust. i’m definitely giving serious thought to reworking as a more psychological thriller – though it will involve some decoupling on my part.

  • Citizen M

    I suggest writers look at an old article of Carson’s: Clarity, The Most Overlooked Mistake In Screenwriting. It certainly applies to some of these scripts.

    http://scriptshadow.net/screenwriting-article-clarity-the-most-overlooked-mistake-in-screenwriting/

  • walker

    Congratulations to all the writers for being chosen this weekend. Based on reading at least 30 pages of each script, my vote goes to The Rift, by A.C. Shelby and Matthew Gary. Like last week, I feel that all of the scripts need some rewriting, but with optimal execution The Rift would have the best chance to be a successful movie.

    • walker

      Adventure Has A Name. Read to page 33. Pro: Pretty well-written, light tone and decent action. Clever concept within the bounds of fan fiction. Con: Fan fiction, where do you submit this? Some confusing POV and description. HF getting too old to sustain a feature as others are going to discover pretty soon. Technical: A lot of production script touches, overuse of double dialogue.

    • walker

      Canine. Read to page 40. Pro: Strong action and decent character work in the unit. Con: Schizophrenic story, reads like a straight action script but now finally here come the werewolves. Takes too long getting there. Islamabad, a teeming metropolis, is presented as a dusty field. Everyone not white is a terrorist cartoon pre-corpse. Technical: Clean but busy, sometimes just too many POVs on a scene. Heavy reliance on minislugs that just are a character’s name.

    • walker

      Vickie. Read to page 38. Pro: Refreshing character based drama, authentic sense of place. Some very good description and decent dialogue. Con: 38 pages in, slow moving and the writer is trying hard to make us like her but it isn’t really working. This has been done very well before in Monster, so the bar is pretty high. Technical: Over the top shooting script presentation exacerbated by poor grammar and typos.

    • walker

      To Dust. Read to page 55. Pro: Nice atmosphere and mystery, a clean quick read. Con: Doesn’t develop into the psychological thriller it promises. British writer has a reductive touristy view of rural US, the phrase “wispy-bearded, plaid shirt-wearing inbreds” easily as offensive as Canine’s dark-skinned machine gun fodder. Technical: Very clean presentation even though it uses the whole grab-bag of formatting devices.

      • pabloamigo

        Thanks for checking it out walker. Consider myself scolded for lazy stereotyping.

        • walker

          Hey Paul I liked the writing. You should think about reworking it as an atmospheric thriller. You know years ago I lived in the Scottish Highlands and there were quite a few wispy-bearded, plaid skirt-wearing inbreds giving me the eye when I went into town.

          • pabloamigo

            Yes, a few others have pointed out that it may work better if I refocused as a psychological thriller. Certainly appeals to me. Thanks for your input – plenty of food for thought!

    • walker

      The Rift. Read whole script. Pro: Very serviceable Hollywood premise, big action sequences, high stakes. A plus that the script is by two SS regulars who collaborated without ever meeting personally. Con: Often muddled presentation undercuts some of the action, characters obviously secondary to the story. Probably needs to be greatly simplified to make the read more accessible. Technical: Some typos, some large dialogue blocks.

    • pmlove

      I second this.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brett-martin/52/702/72 ElectricDreamer

    Congrats to another crop of amateur candidates & SS250 hopefuls.
    So far, Carson hasn’t handed out much hope. Let’s find us a winner!

    My VOTE goes to: VICKIE
    Honorable Mention: TO DUST

    CANINE:
    Read to page 12.

    Not everyone knows a CHINOOK is a helicopter. Orient the reader better.
    Make it easier for the reader to immerse themselves in your opener.
    If you insist on calling it by the model, then use “chopper” in your prose.
    Until I saw the rotor parenthetical, I thought we were on the ground.

    I’ve researched the War Dog program as a hobby.
    Used to work with dogs in both service and entertainment capacities.
    A handler NEVER plays with a service dog when hostiles are around.
    They even use different collars to distinguish between work and play.
    If you want to learn more, check out the book: “Soldier’s Best Friend”.

    Reduce the exposition load during your going away party.
    Don’t telegraph the past so much, these guys know it, they lived it.
    Let their emotions suggest the past we don’t need to know the details of.

    You’ve got a lot of military detail, but the story hasn’t started.
    The writer can move my eyes down the page, but there’s no thrust.
    Don’t care for the Preacher trope. Super overused in military flicks.
    Think you missed an opportunity to let MIA SCENT a MONSTER in the prologue.

    “Yay, we got the bad guys, wait… Why’s Mia growling and freaking out?”
    Connect the canine instincts together right away. Elongate the tension.
    Skimming ahead, no monster until 40% of the way in. That’s a CARDINAL SIN.
    You’ve set the tone for a military drama. Not monster in a box horror.
    My advice: Watch DOG SOLDIERS and learn how Neil Marshall crushed it.

    THE RIFT:
    Read to page 12.

    Suggesting coolness and not sharing even a glimpse of it is frustrating.
    Especially the dialogue, characters talk like they’re being recorded.
    You’re not setting up a mystery, just alienating the reader.
    Doesn’t take long for that alienation to lead to dropping the script.
    Give me cool reasons to keep reading, simple obfuscation will not suffice

    Super bland opener, very stilted and unrewarding for a theft.
    We should be in on some secret if you ever want to INCLUDE the reader.
    The writers are working hard, but not bread crumbing goodies for readers.
    Actually, this feels very close to the opener of ANGELS & DEMONS…

    Very sterile murder and theft, however that supercollider stuff was cool.
    They told us right away about those bombs. We knew the THREAT pronto.
    Give us enough to basically undnerstand why this theft is happening.
    Without that thread of logic we’re adrift in your tale. No threat, no interest.

    I’m lost pretty fast. Multiple lab rats. German blackout chicks.
    And I think there’s supposed to be time travel element in there eventually too.
    Everyone’s dialogue is modified to keep the reader in the dark.
    Why not have a lab rat talk about the RISKS of the project?
    Nuggets like that will draw the reader into the situation.

    Obfuscation is a cheap trick that alienates audiences quickly.
    Take a look at the movie, THE VILLAGE…
    At one point for ten minutes, the entire cast talks around the audience.
    Every one of those villagers knows what’s in the cabin, but us!
    Once you start doing that in your script, suspension of disbelief is gonna snap.
    Would love to support regulars here, but the script’s not ready.

    ADVENTURE HAS A NAME:
    Read to page 10.

    No need for the Fedora camera direction. Just call him: FEDORA MAN.
    That vague moniker tells the reader his idenity is obscured/irrelevent.
    You’ve got some trivia tidbits, but this is purely for cinephiles.
    I wonder how many people have ever seen Tom Selleck’s audition tape.
    He did a video with Sean Young. Google it, worth a look.

    This feels more like a web series to me, than a movie.
    Problem is, your characters are on the outside of all the nerd fun…
    Recently, Nathan Fillion & Alan Tudyk were a smash on Indiegogo with stuff like this.
    Check out how they use nerd love humor to cash in big with CON MAN:
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/con-man

    Hmm, I thought Harrison Ford improvised the gun scene.
    I’ve read a lot of conflicting stories over the years.
    Admittedly, I like movie trivia, but I don’t see this getting made.

    There’s a lot of incidental dialogue and sitcom slapstick shenanigans.
    Maybe this would’ve been viable if flicks like FANBOYS were better received.
    If folks don’t embrace one about Star Wars, I doubt they’ll bite for Indy.
    Fan fiction can lead to lucrative careers, but this one doesn’t grab my attention.

    VICKIE
    Read to page 18.

    This was my favorite LOGLINE of the group.
    Best opener so far, at least you’re not playing coy with your premise.
    That’s a surefire way to keep a reader turning pages.
    I like that you establish Vickie as a LIAR right quick.
    Little nuggets like that are gold for readers. Juicy character beats.

    Consider getting creative with your format to: DISTINGUISH flashbacks.
    I’m interested in Vickie, please don’t drown me in time jumps.
    This is a rare occasion where some flowery punctuation comes in handy.

    Pages 4-12. Feels like a completely different script.
    Now, I’m on the outside of Vickie, I want that subjectivity back.
    Doesn’t have to be always V.O., but keep me in her head somehow. It’s fun in there.

    Consider giving Vickie some domestic GOALS. At work, in public or at home.
    Let me understand Vickie more through how she handles conflict.
    The door-slamming husband is not a good example of the above.
    Coveting the parking spot is a decent start, dig up more goodies.

    She also comes off childish in how she approaches sex.
    Vickie gives up quickly, let her aggressions SIMMER to killer’s BOIL.
    She blows her stack too fast. How will she build up the pressure to KILL?
    These kinds of stories work better when we see the seed growing.
    Great start marred by a tepid follow up.

    TO DUST:
    Read to page 20.

    Writer is smart enough to use the girl as dramatic irony here.
    A nice way to offset the blandness of an arrest. Tight opener.
    Try being more obvious with your INTERCUT sequences.
    Your writing style is a quick read. Formatting is your friend.

    Why is Ellie bleeding? I backtracked, found no evidence of injury.
    It makes more sense if she’s bleeding after the grapple.
    Mother Kluckerz sounds like that fast food joint in TAMMY. Not good.

    If Ellie liked Noah, why wait decades to tap that? Reads odd.
    Your snap flashback suggests these two connected over the years.
    Also comes off a bit sitcommy that she goes for c*ck right after getting fired.

    Much like VICKIE, the follow up to the opener doesn’t measure up.
    There’s a lot of small town talk. Nothing about CULTS in the front fifteen.

    Ellie has such a strong personality, I can’t see her being programmed.
    There’s no THREAT here. The attractive traps of cults must inspire DREAD.
    Followers are moths being led to flames, there’s none of that here.
    Since I don’t think Ellie’s susceptible, there’s no TENSION.

    Maybe you shouldn’t hold that Eliie’s a CUTTER until page 17.
    Not knowing that creates reader confusion during the attempted rape.
    Still zero mention of a CULT through the first twenty pages. CARDINAL SIN.

    The most interesting part of the logline has yet to even be mentioned.
    Check out a new indie thriller called, FAULTS. It deals head on with cults.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faults_%28film%29

    There’s plenty of talent on the page here, but…
    A great start is sunk by a misleading drama that eventually alienates the reader.

  • Poe_Serling

    This week I’m splitting my vote between TO DUST and CANINE.

    Both scripts would benefit from a Carson review and another round of helpful suggestions from the SS faithful in the AF slot.

    Highlight of To Dust: I thought the writer did a solid job in setting the tone and creating a creepy atmosphere for his story.

    Highlight of Canine: The core concept of badass dog vs. an even bigger badass dog. I encourage the writers to take a look at Malibo Jackk’s advice regarding the logline and his must-list.

    As always, thanks for sharing your work.

    • Frankie Hollywood

      CANINE v LUPINE
      the fur’s gonna fly!

      • Poe_Serling

        Somebody over at the SyFy channel is pitching your idea to their boss as I type this.

        • Frankie Hollywood

          Hope I at least get a “Story by” credit.

          “The government’s top secret Mutated Guardian Dogs project has a new mission, stop the Russian Werewolf invasion from invading Little Rock, Arkansas where President Palmer is playing golf.”

          • Poe_Serling

            Just saw this on one of the entertainment websites:

            CANINE v LUPINE Gets Title and Airdate!

            The 2-hour original SyFy movie Canine v Lupine: The Fur’s Gonna Fly! will hit TV screens on May 12, a network executive says. The story follows the government’s top secret Bio-Enhanced Guardian Dogs project has a new mission, stop the Russian Werewolf Invasion from taking over Little Rock, Arkansas where President Palmer is playing golf. Jerry Springer will star as Palmer along with Stan the canine from the Disney Channel hit show ‘Dog with a Blog.’

    • pabloamigo

      Thanks Poe. Listened to plenty of Selected Ambient Works 2 by Aphex Twin whilst writing this to get that moody tone down!

  • NajlaAnn

    My choice: “The Rift” I like hard sci-fi.

  • ASAbrams

    I guess I vote for CANINE, based off the fact there was something enough there to propel me beyond the first ten pages.

    • ASAbrams

      Title: Canine
      Genre: Action
      Logline: A special forces K9 unit, searching for an international terrorist deep in the Afghan wilderness, find themselves hunted by an ancient tribe of werewolves.

      ============================================

      How much I read: All of it

      What worked for me: I liked the concept of a whole village of werewolves. I liked the dog Mia very much. She was actually the reason I finished the script–I wanted to know what happened to her and if she would come out of this whole thing okay. The pacing was fast–I felt like something was happening all the time.

      What did not work for me:The title is very vague to me. It doesn’t tell me specifically about either a K9 dog or werewolves. The second problem I had was that the tribe of werewolves is mentioned in the logline, which suggests to me that they are driving force for a majority of the story. However, I didn’t see the actual werewolves until page 52. I think the logline sets up unintentional expectations about what kind of movie this will be.

      There was no central character for me to latch on to. Mia’s handler would seem to fit the bill, but he has no personality–kind of like a video game avatar. He didn’t have any unique flaws or strengths that made him a good candidate to see this story through his perspective. Also, not very much physical harm came to him (until the very, very end and even then it was minor compared to what could have happened). That was strange to me because of what happened to all the other characters.

      There were some instances of plot inconsistencies for me. For example, the guy who was falling after the terrorist out of the plane and pulled his chute at the last minute (I’m forgetting everyone’s name–a symptom of them all not having much character development)– he’s described as hitting the ground and bones breaking and stuff happening to his organs. Yet there are no consequences to that. He’s not slower or bleeding or anything like that. There are other times where a character gets hurt but is not acting hurt. [Okay, one more inconsistency: at the end, the alpha werewolf is describe as the ‘last monster.’ Yet after he dies twelve more show up.]

      The opening did not set the tone as much as it could. I think that the whole mission being completely successful isn’t telling us that this movie is going to get gory and that many people will die later on. The benefit of setting the tone is that the gory deaths aren’t off putting deeper in the story. I can kind of enjoy what’s coming.

      After the werewolves chase them, the kinds of action the characters pursue are repetitive. Hide, werewolves find them, shoot-shoot-grenade, move on. Rinse, later, repeat. These things take place in different settings–village, cave, bridge, helicopter, but they are still the same sorts of actions. As a result, I felt no build up. They are just running around trying to survive until the Black Hawk rescues them, which makes them not in control of how they achieve their goal of getting out of there. It flattens the experience–instead of each action getting them closer or further away from getting out of there, all of their actions mean the same thing–survival.

      Lastly, I know this is an action story, but I think it can still say something personal and reveal who people are deep down. Right now, it’s all about what’s happening on the outside and not the inside. How will this experience change these people? What can I learn from this that I can take into my own life? I’m not likely to encounter werewolves, so something deeper will let me generalize this experience to my own life. In that way, the story resonates with me and stays with me longer.

      • Bacon Statham

        ”There was no central character for me to latch on to. Mia’s handler would seem to fit the bill, but he has no personality–kind of like a video game avatar. He didn’t have any unique flaws or strengths that made him a good candidate to see this story through his perspective. Also, not very much physical harm came to him (until the very, very end and even then it was minor compared to what could have happened). That was strange to me because of what happened to all the other characters.”
        After having briefly scanned through Canine, I’ve got one suggestion that might fix that particular problem. Kill Thorne off early on and have Mia’s new handler become the team member who hates dogs the most. Have the dog act out towards her new ”owner”. The team needs to move out, her new handler tries to get her to follow, she doesn’t and he has to coax her onwards.

        • Caivu

          This is a good suggestion. If Mia is acting out, the soldiers are going to think that she’s just misbehaving when she starts sensing werewolves, and they won’t know what’s going on until it’s too late. The new trainer wouldn’t even necessarily have to be a dog hater, just someone different enough from Thorne that she’d get upset.

    • ASAbrams

      Title: To Dust
      Genre: Thriller
      Logline: A brainwashed young woman, conditioned to track and kill the remaining members of her parents’ cult, must outwit a relentless small-town Sheriff and regain her true memories before she kills her next target – the man she loves.

      ============================================

      How much I read: 10 pages

      What worked for me: The main character, though bland at first, seemed like a real person.

      What did not work for me: I didn’t really understand what was happening in the logline. There were too many ‘whys’ and ‘huhs?’ that it brought up. The opening sequence with whoever arresting those people also confused me.

      The pages I read felt disjointed, inconsequential, and bland. I guess I’d find out later what she had to do with the cult, but if that’s the case, why show the opening scene? If I’m to puzzle over this, I need more information to puzzle over. The scenes went on a bit longer than necessary too. That conversation with that boy outside the store went on forever, it seemed.

    • ASAbrams

      Title: The Rift
      Genre: Action/Sci-Fi
      Logline: When a soldier suffering from PTSD is told his symptoms are the result of an impossible space/time experiment, he seeks out the renegade scientist responsible, but being living evidence of the experiment’s success, a black agency is quickly on his trail to appropriate the technology.

      ============================================

      How much I read: 10 pages

      What worked for me: I liked the concept here. I chose to read it first.

      What did not work for me: I didn’t know what anyone wanted or why. Something to do with a silo that disappeared for some reason and some Germans demanding that something be done by an American scientist and someone who may or may not be called Samantha. Then a scene with some soldiers. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I just skipped the first 15 or so pages.

    • ASAbrams

      Title: Vickie
      Genre: Drama
      Log lien: A seemingly docile nurse in Texas morphs into a serial killer of patients where she worked, after personal set-backs push her over the edge. BASED ON A TRUE STORY
      ============================================

      How much I read: 10 pages

      What worked for me: Vickie was a vivid character for me. I remembered her after reading.

      What did not work for me I didn’t think that a script that says it’s based off a true story should have a Sméagol/Gollum scene. It didn’t feel real to me. Not saying that it couldn’t–just saying it didn’t here.

      Is Vickie always cycling though her personalities? Because the way she fought with her husband over what he was doing during Striptease wasn’t demure Vickie, or brash Vickie, or confident Vickie. She was just a cliched frustrated wife. That cliche feeling extended to her self-help calendar (I think it was a calendar) and her interactions with children (including the scene in the car outside school).

      I think the first pages could be a little bolder in establishing the concept.

    • ASAbrams

      Title: Adventure Has A Name
      Genre: Comedy
      Logline: When a fan accidentally receives Harrison Ford’s lab results in the mail, the fatal prognosis sends him and his friends on a desperate journey to find Ford and deliver the script they penned to win him his long deserved Oscar.

      ============================================

      How much I read: 10 pages

      What worked for me: Simon and his friends feel like they drive a whole story.

      What didn’t work for me: The first ten didn’t do much for me. It opens with this scene that only seemed to exist for a payoff that anybody who has a passing acquaintance with the Indiana Jones franchise would already know. And it did nothing to add to that knowledge.

      The whole fedora hat thing was confusing, especially when it says it lifts and then there’s Simon. I know what it was trying to say. That the person lifted his head to reveal not Harrison Ford, but this teen dressed as Indiana Jones. But I didn’t get that the first couple of reads of that line.

      I didn’t care much about the whole stolen tickets debacle. How would this make me care about Simon and his eventual goal? It went on for far too long.

  • ASAbrams

    Oops.

  • Levres de Sang

    My Vote: Sorry for being “wishy-washy” Carson, but no one gets my vote!

    I’m not trying to be negative because they were undoubtedly an intriguing bunch of concepts, but for me there was no stand-out script. Indeed, Citizen’s comment as to clarity was pertinent because I felt that time-jumps were a particular problem this week.

    VICKIE [Read: 5 pages]

    We’re here, there and everywhere and this is impossible to get a handle upon! A real shame, because this was the one that jumped out at me from the loglines. The subject matter has amazing potential, but the execution needs serious attention.

    THE RIFT [Read: 12 pages]

    Somewhere in here is the kind of story I like with its 60s-style surnames (Foster, Hunt, Anders etc.) and European stylings, but unfortunately I have no idea what’s going on! There’s also that huge tonal shift to Afghanistan which made me feel like I was back reading CANINE. I really wanted to support this one because Matthew is great in comments, but as others have already noted it clearly needs more drafts to clarify the material.

    CANINE [Read: 12 pages]

    The writers aren’t making enough of their great setting and it feels like the beats have been ported over from a TV documentary on Bin Laden’s capture. In fact, everything feels overly generic (i.e. TERRORIST; “I love you guys” skype scene) and too straight-up military. In short, it lacks the fascination of last year’s similar AOW premise BLACK AUTUMN. Indeed, the scene with the bear really needs to be longer and thereby cast its shadow over the story we’ve been promised.

    Page 1: What on earth does “take a knee” mean?

    ADVENTURE HAS A NAME [Read: 6 pages]

    After the initial FEDORA confusion this is mostly well-written, but not being an Indy acolyte I felt the jokes were lost on me. In fact, I preferred the straight adventure style of recent AOW contender INDIANA JONES & THE STONE OF DESTINY (which actually got my vote!)

    TO DUST [Read: 10 pages]

    I admire that a UK writer has taken on midwest Americana, but it’s not working for me I’m afraid. Not sure why exactly, but I’m finding it difficult to concentrate. The author writes well for the most part, but is somehow making the story more tricky than it needs to be.

    N.B. I’m always fascinated by the prospect of cult stories, but invariably writers have no experience of being in a cult and are therefore unable to deliver on their premise.

    • charliesb

      Take a knee is a football term. In general it means take a break or stop what you’re doing.

      • Levres de Sang

        Thanks Charlie! I had no idea.

      • cjob3

        Yeah I take it like, everyone huddle up, get down on one knee and listen to what the couch has to say. Kinda like “Take a seat.”

    • Poe_Serling

      “The writers aren’t making enough of their great setting…”

      Yeah, I had a similar thought when I was reading the project. In fact, I was thinking this concept could be adapted to quite a few wilderness settings and still work. Why not a ‘First Blood’ or ‘The Hunted’ like stories? Have the dogs and their handlers tracking a fugitive deep into the sticks somewhere. The twist? The fugitive is a werewolf, and he/she is leading the pursuers straight to their stomping grounds, which is teeming with other lycanthropes.

      • Levres de Sang

        A terrific idea, Poe! Snowy wastes, perhaps… Although I suppose the audience would then expect an abominable snowman or two!

        I think the werewolf / action mix looked great on paper, but I’m not sure it’s working tonally. Having said that, I only read what seemed like a prelude — and you could still have the military as the pursuers in your version.

        • Poe_Serling

          “Although I suppose the audience would then expect an abominable snowman or two!”

          Hey, there’s always room for another abominable snowman flick in the cinematic world. I’m quite fond of Hammer’s The Abominable Snowman with Peter Cushing and Forrest ‘F-Troop’ Tucker.

          A year or so ago, there was even talk from Hammer Films doing a remake. It would be a “modern take” on the story in which a scientific expedition’s illegal ascent up an unclimbed peak of one of the world’s most formidable mountains accidentally awakens an ancient creature that could spell a certain end for them all.”

          • Levres de Sang

            The abominable snowman now seems so out of fashion that he must surely be due a revival. And great spec subject matter regardless of whether or not that Hammer remake ever sees the light of day.

            ** I made the mistake of passing on the Peter Cushing flick when it aired on TV recently. Originally entitled The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas and shot in Hammerscope, it actually sounds pretty entertaining!

          • Poe_Serling

            Personally, I’d love to see a slow burn type of abominable snowmen pic come out in the near future. Not only in the sense that the filmmakers try to treat the subject matter in a somewhat serious manner but also tease the audience with just glimpses of the creature to create some real anticipation before the final reveal or showdown.

            And who knows, Hammer Films could be taking it in that direction. I remember Mummy 3 featured a sequence with a tribe of Yeti saving Brendan Fraser and co. – I thought it came off as really hokey.

          • Levres de Sang

            I agree that the trick with reviving monsters from the 1950s is to avoid that hokey quality and to make them genuinely frightening again. Not sure how you might go about this, but I suppose it might involve some contemporary nightmare: an abandoned missile silo on the Alaskan-Kamchatka border, perhaps…?

            Perhaps you might even consider taking on this kind of project, Poe, otherwise I fear we may be waiting a long time for our snowman.

          • Poe_Serling

            “Perhaps you might even consider taking on this kind of project, Poe, otherwise I fear we may be waiting a long time for our snowman.”

            I’d probably feel more at home tackling a Bigfoot project than one with a mythical creature that inhabits the Himalayan region.

            And even that sub-genre of horror is getting a little overcrowded with recent releases such as Exists, Willow Creek, and so on.

          • Levres de Sang

            This is where your knowledge is so good (and why you might want to consider this kind of project) because I’m clearly getting my mythological monsters confused! I guess I must have been thinking of Bigfoot when I mentioned Alaska… but yes I recall you posting the trailer to Willow Creek a little while back so you’re probably right in that it’s got a bit crowded. I suppose this is aways one of the many problems posed by screenwiting!

  • Randall Alexander

    Here is an article about the real Vickie.
    http://www.texasmonthly.com/story/angel-death

  • Gregory Mandarano

    What’s your email address?

  • Linkthis83

    I’m usually in favor of writers writing scripts however they want, but in the case of yours, I do agree that there is just too much camera direction. I think it’s fantastic that you see the movie that clearly and you want to try to present it to us that way, but then we spend too much time trying to visualize the intention, as opposed to it being naturally created by us as we read.

    There is absolutely substance in these pages (at least the early ones I read) and they are delivered extremely well. I think scaling back the majority of the directions will really make many readers lean in and pay attention to Vickie (and right from the get go).

    Maybe go through your first ten pages and cut the directions out, and see what remains. If you still love it but aren’t sure, then tweak as needed. Congrats and good luck with the re-write. You get a draft that’s more ready for consumption and you’ll secure an AF slot no doubt (or a 250 – depending on your aim).

  • Guy

    I recommend checking out WriterDuet.com. I don’t know if it will go so smoothly on an iPad, but if you have a regular computer, I think it’s wonderful. It formats just like Final Draft (*exactly*) and gives no issues when exporting as PDF (as I saw you mention in another comment here). I want to say that I really liked your script. And with a format polish, I think you have something great here. I’ll expand on a standalone comment soon :)

  • Linkthis83

    I’ve read the pages and I think it makes your story immediately more accessible and inviting. However, I’m also not an expert, so I would advise seeking out more feedback on these pages to see what the consensus is.

    You also need to decide how you feel about these pages yourself.

    What’s different for me in this read is that I’m now no longer focused on HOW to see the story you are telling, but I get to experience it more. I also get to look at the finer details of choices you made and things I’d want to “nitpick” for the sake of enhancing some nuances you have here.

    The great thing is, however, that even though I want to “nitpick,” I still feel I get the intention now; quicker, more effectively and with greater “bite.”

    A few suggestions:

    1) When Vickie says “…yes you will, you will not chicken out” – that’s confusing to me because of the will followed by a will not. I’d suggest that both sides of the comma be in the same direction of voice (if that makes any sense):

    “…yes you will, you will do this”

    or

    “…you ain’t too weak, you won’t chicken out”

    2) In regards to the slaps – I dig them and their delivery. Love this moment. Although, there are a quite a few slaps. Maybe you could make it a bit of a rhythm thing:

    “I won’t (slap) listen to (slap) your shit (slap) any (slap) more! (hard slap)”

    And if you were bummed about me taking out the word chicken in the previous suggestion, you could sneak it into the “your chicken shit (slap) any (slap) more! (slap)” moment.

    3) “…and a new, third one (calm confidence) makes its presence known in her reflection.” — I think you really could just simply write this:

    “…and new, third one (calm confidence) emerges.”

    The more I analyzed this moment though the more I realized that we wouldn’t necessarily make that connection as the audience. We know it’s a third one because you tell us in the action line. She doesn’t make a gesture or say anything that truly shows us it’s a third personality. I think she should say something to juxtapose this Serene Vickie with Stern and Whiny-ass Vickie :)

    That would create a logistical problem with how you’re transitioning now, but something I think is worth giving some thought to. Otherwise, I would just assume it’s either Whiny Vickie or Stern Vickie that has calmed down.

    Anyway, none of these are concrete MUSTS, but just mere suggestions on what you already have. None of the things I’ve focused on are moments that are “make or break” moments. Just the subtle things that I think collectively affirm the delivery of a story as it’s being told.

    A sincere thanks for putting those pages together so quickly for me to read! I wish you tons of luck with this.

    (BTW, I’ve been doing tons of work in Texas lately so maybe I’m partially biased towards this script – Lol.)

  • HRV

    Yes, much better without the camera directions. Spec scripts should not have them. A bit of trivia: The Smokey and the bandit car was a Firebird Trans Am, not a Camaro.

  • Nathaniel Bannister

    My vote goes to CANINE.

    Well done to all involvd for even getting something finished! I read the first ten of everything. I have to say I wasn’t particularly blown away by any of them but ‘Canine’ seemed the most sure-footed and I read it in full. Feedback:

    TO DUST – wasn’t a big fan of the writing style and was a bit confused by the opening. Why are the couple important? Why is Ellie (I think that was her name) bleeding? Is Noah an old friend or…?

    THE RIFT – just a whole heap of crazy for me with no real character to hold on to.

    VICKIE – personal choice, but I found the action and dialogue overly directional. Beyond that, the character work seemed interesting but surely this is pure guesswork on the writer’s part?

    ADVENTURE HAS A NEW NAME – the logline sounds fun and self-referential but I didn’t really understand how the first ten linked to that (obviously I get Indiana Jones/Harrison Ford but I didn’t see anything that pointed to this script, or Harrison’s fatal prognosis); I also felt the characters were nothing new… The opening was pretty funny though. Not sure what rights you would need to secure to make this either and if you stood a chance of getting them?

    CANINE – first of all, I found this a pretty easy read – it’s pretty atmospheric in the right places and the relationship between Thorna and Mia adds a fresh spin. But I had two main problems:

    Character: I didn’t really know these people at all. I know it’s difficult to take some time away from a helter skelter plot to show us who these guys are but it meant that when Ethan/Preacher/Fresno died I didn’t really care. I also quite like the escape they had to make from the plane in that they were pretty cool and professional about the whole thing – it told us a lot about them. I personally would have that as the opener and build from there. Also, there is no point in Sepowitz other than that she is required to turn in to a werewolf (which means you have to engineer the situation where these highly-trained killers allow her to join them on an assault on an unknown village). Drop her.

    Plotting: there is no clear goal. They need to survive obviously, but there is never an overarching stratey they come up with to do that. I felt it needed to be clearer where they needed to be, when, and how difficult it was going to be to get there. I also felt the stuff in the village was too easy for them – evade werewolves, get split up, go down well, go up well, ride away on horses. It wasn’t tricky or focused enough. I would get to the werewolves stuff faster as well.

    Good luck everyone!

  • Robert M

    My vote: Vickie

    A bit late, but I read the whole thing and it’s by far the best I have read on AFV during the two years I’ve been here. I thought Character, Structure and Dialogue was very strong. Some dialogue can be sharpened and shortened.

    The biggest weakness I believe is the first pages and the mid point so I’ll focus on that from now on (It also needs to be proof read):

    I don’t mind the jumping in scenes in the beginning, but it can be constructed so it is easier to follow. However, I’d abolutley consider changing the “gollum” scene in the beginning as it feels cliche and it isn’t really picked up later in the script. This is pretty much the only time we see her talking to herself with different personalities. This also causes a, in all other perspectives, bleiveble script to be unrealistic. Everybody knows by now that this is how it works only in films, not in real life. The “disease” don’t cause your different personallities to meet.

    To just have her crying and wining to herself as the unresolute Vickie (one voice) and then suddenly, she’s full of poise and assureness and with another voice, then cut to black would work stronger. It wouldn’t be as cliche and i don’t think you would lose so many readers the first pages. Because they are missing out on something really good.

    The mid point, or when she meets Ricky. At this point i started to struggle a bit with the script. She had by now started to really accelerate in her transformation to become psycho. She was even diagnosed i believe. But then it all pauses somehow. And i think it is due to the fact that we’ve been following Vickie pretty much from day to day seing her getting more and more hopeless. Then suddenly we jump forward months and her progress then halters. I think the script would benefit if you could find out a way to make us see her progress going nuts continue without the pause somehow. Because when it then starts over, it fells like we’ve been there before, and you get a sense of that it repeats itself for some ten pages or so. Maybe you should consider if it means changing some of the structure with Coleman and Ricky. Because now Coleman disapears and a new main character takes place in the middle of the movie. As it is based on actual events, it si difficult to give advise on what you could do structura wise, but maybe you could consider starting later in to the story, and move some of the scenes with Coleman to Ricky instead?
    There’s a lot of COLEMAN where i believe it should be RICKY in the end by the way.
    Other from that, i enjoyed it alot. Jenifer Lawrence would be perfect for the role :-)
    Cheers